December 6, 2013

No Child Should be Hungry in America.

Childhood hunger is a major epidemic occurring in America.

It’s estimated that one out of five children suffer from it. Some of the most vulnerable children in America are going to school without being fed, and it’s impacting every area of their academic performance and lives.

When children are starving, their body goes into conservation mode; the body first uses the energy it gets from food to keep basic bodily functions going, like the stomach and liver. One of the final stages is used for learning and cognitive development. If a child is starving, they cannot learn properly.

We have the food and resources in America to fix this.

Here are three startling facts about childhood hunger in America:

1. Over 16 million children are affected by it.

It’s estimated that over 16 million children are from households that have trouble getting access to food. These children struggle to find their next meal and some are going to school without eating breakfast because they don’t have access to it. In New York City alone, an estimated 474,000 children struggle with hunger. Childhood hunger affects every state in America.

2. Children who suffer from hunger perform worse in school.

A study published in The Journal Of Nutrition suggested that children who suffered from food insecurity had lower math skills than other children who were well fed when entering kindergarten. Kids cannot learn if they’re starving, and even worse, they’re going to behave aggressively.

3. Children who are food insecure are more prone to behavioral problems.

Being food insecure has been linked to fighting and bullying. When a child is hungry, they are not able to focus on the task at hand, and they have to deal with harmful emotions from being hungry.

How many of these children could avoid being put in jail in the future if they knew where to get their next meal? How many current criminals are the result of being malnourished as a child?

A Possible Solution to Childhood Hunger

Over 10 million children who are eligible for free or reduce breakfast in school are not getting the food.

Six out of seven children who are eligible for summer meals did not get them. A non for profit organization called No Kid Hungry is working to remedy the problem of hunger in America by offering children several nutrition programs. One of the programs works to bring breakfast and summer meals into schools of children affected by hunger.

According to their website, No Kid Hungry works with political leaders, schools, business leaders, and communities to come together to solve the problem of hunger in America.

Through a program called Cooking Matters, No Kid Hungry offers classes to teach parents how to shop for food on a budget.

America is a country home to some of the most successful people in the world. This is a country that put a man on the moon. Why can’t we solve the hunger epidemic in America? America has the resources to solve this problem.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

{Photo: Wikimedia Commons.}

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