Home > Uncategorized > Food Insecurity in Childhood Lingers… and With 40% of US Children Experiencing it we MUST Act Quickly

Food Insecurity in Childhood Lingers… and With 40% of US Children Experiencing it we MUST Act Quickly

May 12, 2020

I wrote a post yesterday suggesting that given the role schools play in providing food to needy children ,a priority needs to be placed on opening schools in high poverty areas first. A Washington Post editorial that is reprinted in today’s local newspaper includes this conclusion regarding food insecurity that underscores the need for prompt action:

Food insecurity affected an astonishing 40.9 percent of households of mothers with children age 12 and under. As the report notes: “It is clear that young children are experiencing food insecurity to an extent unprecedented in modern times.” The pernicious physical and psychological effects of child hunger may linger long after this crisis. Food insecurity in children can contribute to toxic stress, which can negatively impact brain development and increase the risk of depression, anxiety and substance abuse later in life.These effects are especially pronounced in the early years, though the effects of food insecurity are damaging at any age. Many of the traumas facing children across the country — shuttered schools and collapsing social routines — may be unavoidable in a pandemic. Hunger is avoidable.

Hunger IS avoidable… yet as the editorial notes, many states have still not provided the relatively SNAP benefits that were included in the huge stimulus package, SNAP benefits that did not extend beyond the end of the school year and benefits that did not match the levels provided after the Great Recession of 2008. Hunger IS avoidable… we need to take action to prevent the calamitous long term effects on 40% of today’s students.

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