Monday, February 01, 2016

Hungry in the US of A

There is no excuse for any child in a world that produces ample amounts of food and it is even more shocking that in the United States of America children to go hungry and malnourished in one of the richest nation on Earth.

Nearly 220,000 Ohio children under six are poor and young children of color are more likely to be poor. More than half (55.5 percent) of Black children, 40.3 percent of Hispanic, and 19.1 percent of White children under six in Ohio are poor; 21 percent of them live in families where at least one parent works full-time year-round; 47 percent have at least one parent working part of the year or part-time; and 32 percent have no employed parent. Nearly one in four Ohio children lacks consistent access to adequate food—that’s 653,410 Ohio children of all ages in every corner of the state. Nationally, 15.3 million children were food insecure in 2014. The majority live in families with one or more working adults—but are still unable to consistently afford enough food to keep the wolves of hunger from their door. Food insecure children under age five are:
Nearly two times more likely to be in “fair or poor health”;
Nearly two times more likely to experience developmental delays;
Two times as likely to have behavioral problems;
More than twice as likely to be hospitalized;
Two and a half times more likely to have headaches, and
Three times more likely to have stomach aches.

Food insecure children are more likely to be behind in social skills and reading performance in kindergarten. By elementary school they are four times more likely to need mental health counseling. Risks keep accumulating: malnutrition from childhood food insecurity has been linked to adult diseases including diabetes, hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease. The stress and anxiety of early childhood hunger also make it harder to learn skills that help later relationship development, school success and workplace productivity. Babies born to food insecure mothers face tragic odds: they are more likely to be born pre-term and at low birthweight and to struggle with breastfeeding which contributes to increased infant mortality rates. Babies who survive are more likely to struggle with disabilities during childhood and adolescence and face higher risks of chronic disease as adults. Continuing to condone the pain of hunger and malnutrition is unforgivable. Too many people are fed a diet of hate and prejudice.

Coretta Scott King once said, “I must remind you that starving a child is violence.”

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