Why should we care?

Feeding a child is more than putting food into their stomach, it is an investment in our society and it is a signal to these children that we care about them and their future.

When children are hungry at school they have trouble focusing and can exhibit behavioral problems. Hunger can affect long-term health, academic achievement, and economic prosperity. These factors can lead to a less competitive American workforce and higher healthcare costs (Felling).

Capture LunchBox

Photo retrieved from http://thechildreslunchbox.org

Studies show that children who suffer from hunger are more likely to suffer from poor overall health (Felling). They have more frequent colds, ear infections, higher levels of anemia, and weaker immune systems than other children. As a result these children are visiting doctors and emergency rooms more frequently. Alaska has some of, if not, the highest healthcare costs in America. These children are usually from low-income families who cannot afford medical care. These costs are passed on to all of us and it would be more affordable in the long run to make sure that children have the necessary nutrition and nourishment to stay well.

When children are experiencing food-scarcity they may exhibit higher levels of anxiety, irritability, hyperactivity, destructive or aggressive behavior, and become withdrawn. These children are at a higher risk for depressive disorders and suicidal behavior and are more likely to need mental health services. Mental health resources and the support systems in schools are already carrying a heavy burden and lack adequate funding. Providing food and a greater level of security for children at risk can help to reduce some of these issues.

Children suffering from hunger typically retain less of new material learned in school, are a higher risk to repeat a grade, and generally have higher rates of suspension, absenteeism, and tardiness. Studies have linked hunger to lower standardized test scores, this is why some schools serve free breakfast and lunch to all students on test days (Felling).

In low-income households, with school-age children, food insecurity in the summer months is substantially higher than in other households. Factors other than meals that are not provided during the school year contribute to higher food insecurity in the summer months (Nord et.al). These include higher child care costs or parents forced to reduced work hours to care for their children.  Studies suggest that there is year-round need to increase and expand food programs for children and to increase awareness of the programs that are  currently available (Nord et.al).

Childhood hunger affects us all and has a negative impact on the individual child’s ability to thrive and develop their full potential. If that is not enough, it also strains resources in schools and the healthcare system. Providing food for children is not only moral and ethical, it can also help reduce some of the other problems that come along with being a child in poverty in our country.

Children are one of the most defenseless groups in our society; they need our help and support. Failing to protect them and make sure they are not too hungry to learn is a failure to invest in the human capital that will drive the future.

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Photo retrieved from http://thechildreslunchbox.org

 

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2 thoughts on “Why should we care?

  1. I really like everything about your blog, Andrea. It’s eye catching, the photos add to it without being distracting and the content seems to be well researched. I like how you mention that child hunger affects all of us through increased health care costs to state why child hunger should matter to everyone. You also mentioned how hunger can adversely affect children’s behavior and performance in school which I found out in researching my own advocacy project has been shown in studies to correlate to higher incarceration rates later in life. Another way that child hunger ultimately affects us all.

  2. This page in particular is very persuasive. I would love to see some citations to go along with the scientific data you bring up in your argument. It is very important to include that little reference of where these statistics are coming from. There’s a study out there that shows children suffer from particular illnesses when they go hungry. You should include a small parenthetical citation to that info!

    Other than that, your blog is looking wonderful. This is a well-crafted project.

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