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Convergence of Childhood Obesity and Hunger: Taking Action

Presented by the School of Natural Sciences and Allied Health of Cabrini University and the College of Health Sciences of West Chester University.

Apple on plate graphic

Supported in part by the Leo and Peggy Pierce Family Foundation.

This one-day interactive symposium, held at West Chester University, will focus on issues and opportunities related to food access for children and families in schools and in their communities. Join us in our attempt to  uncover how various sectors—businesses, health care, and government—intersect on these important issues.

This symposium—ideal for professionals and students in  nursing, public health, health administration, social work, physical and occupational therapy, nutrition, and physician assistant programs—includes a keynote speaker panel, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, and a  healthy breakfast and lunch.

Previous Symposium Information:


Convergence of Childhood Obesity and Hunger: Taking Action
February 22, 2019 | 8:00am - 4:00pm


Sandra Hassink, MD, FAAP Director of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight

"Nutrition: Social Justice and Population Health" (Click here for presentation slides.)

This talk will discuss the importance of optimal nutrition for growth, development and longitudinal health. The impact of food insecurity, hunger and obesity on chronic non-communicable disease will be addressed in the context of health disparities and social justice as applied to individual and population health.

Atif Bostic - Executive Director, Uplift Solutions

"The American Crisis of Access to Fresh and Healthy Food" (Click here for presentation slides.)

The presentation will include a discussion on how inadequate access and affordability lead to alarming rates of food insecurity, hunger, can childhood obesity. This discussion will explore how America arrived at this crisis; and evaluate examples of existing strategies and philanthropy’s role in developing them. Finally, attendees will be provided a framework for the development of entrepreneurial solutions to address them.

Christine Melendez Ashley - Deputy Director, Bread for the World

"Investing in our Children’s Future: Why Policy and Advocacy Matter" (Click here for presentations slides.)

The long term consequences of hunger and poor nutrition are huge. Now is a critical time to be engaging in policy advocacy. Attendees will learn about the policy discussions happening in Washington and how their advocacy can make a difference.



Maiken Scott - WHYY Host and Creative Director of The Pulse






Breakout Session Topics (For additional details click here)

    1. An action-based, interprofessional approach to combating food insecurity and childhood obesity in our communities (Click here for presentation slides.)
    2. Childhood obesity and hunger: Taking action through research and scholarly opportunities
      (Click here for presentation slides.)
    3. First 1,000 days of life (Click here for presentation slides.)
    4. Childhood Obesity and Hunger: A School Nutrition Program Perspective
      (Click here for presentation slides.)
    5. Working at the Intersection of Food, Health, and Obesity Prevention: Population Health in Action at Main Line Health (Click here for presentation slides.)

For more information, please contact Maria Elena Hallion, PhD, at 610-902-8388; or, mehallion@cabrini.edu.


Organizers and speakers for the Child Health Forum 2017

Pictured left-to-right: Dr. Sandra Hassink, American Academy of Pediatrics; Garrett Broad, PhD, Fordham University; Maria Elena Hallion, PhD, Cabrini University; Eric Smith, Bread for the World; Kim Fremont Fortunato, Campbell’s; Sheena Rolle, Bread for the World


Program Objectives: 

  • To share the current, documented national childhood hunger and obesity trends and clarify the linkages between the two problems
  • To foster inter-professional collaboration between those committed to combating childhood hunger and obesity
  • To assist attendees with identifying opportunities for community action including clarifying goals, strategy development and resource identification
  • To assist students, from various fields of study, to identify potential research, service and career opportunities that integrate both childhood obesity and hunger
  • Agenda for Child Health Forum - PDF

A unique part of the Convergence event is the way we connect our meals to our programs.


Convergence of Childhood Obesity and Hunger: A Forum for Response, which was supported in part by The President Antoinette Iadarola Endowed Fund and The Leo and Peggy Pierce Family Foundation.

Participants learned about national trends, foster inter-professional collaboration, and identify potential curricular strategies, programming, and opportunities for research, service, and careers that integrate both childhood obesity and hunger.

Topics included food policy, childhood obesity, food security, and food waste.

National and regional speakers, included: