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Physical Health & Nutrition

Child nutrition and physical health are critical for
lifelong well-being.

The first three years of a child’s life are the perfect time to build lifelong health habits and develop a strong relationship with a trusted pediatrician. However, too many American families live in food deserts–communities without access to a variety of healthy food options. Many more families cannot afford to feed their children in the way they wish.

Parents also struggle to navigate medical systems to better support their children’s health and well-being. 

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    Kids who do not regularly see a pediatric provider face greater risk of future health concerns.

    Why It Matters

    Good nutrition and access to quality health care are essential to healthy development.

    We help families navigate the healthcare system, connect with needed resources, and access fresh and nutritious food that meets their children’s needs. We also advocate to policymakers for equitable access to health care and healthy, affordable food through proven solutions such as the (Women, Infants, and Children) WIC and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

    By the Numbers

    Families need support to ensure the health and well-being of their young children


    Thirty-five percent of babies live in households that struggle to meet basic needs.


    While our programs cost money—and need funding—at the outset, the preventative measures we put in place lower healthcare costs overall, making them a great long-term investment.


    The 13 well-child visits a child has in their first three years of life are a prime opportunity to deliver health services and supports to parents and caregivers. 

    Sources: ZERO TO THREE. State of Babies Yearbook: 2022. HealthySteps (2022) The evidence base.

    Our Impact

    To date, we have reached more than 300,000 children at their pediatrician's offices, with the goal of reaching at least 1 million children and families by 2032.

    The children who have been involved in our pediatric primary care program, Healthy Steps, along with our other efforts, are more likely to be up-to-date on vaccinations by age 2, more likely to receive developmental screenings to identify concerns, and less likely to be recipients of harsh parental discipline.

    I love being a support, a guide, a contortionist—whatever it is that families need me to be.

    Rachel Herbst, HealthySteps Specialist

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    Evidence-based, team-based care to support the health and well-being of babies and toddlers in your community

    Related Resources

    Help us advocate for action so that all of our children can grow up
    healthy and strong.

    The global health crisis caused by COVID-19 has made disparities in children's health more urgent than ever.