Hunger In Children
Facts about Hunger in Children
In a world that has such experienced such huge advances in technology, education and knowledge, it is shameful to recognize that many of the world’s people suffer from a basic need: hunger. In children especially the lack of sufficient food is a major problem, for it is upon these young ones that the future of the world depends.
It is said that a person can survive for weeks without eating any food whatsoever. The results are neither pretty nor pleasant, however. After the body has been deprived of any nutrients at all over a period of time, the internal organs will shut down and the individual will eventually die.
Facts about hunger in children
As unpleasant as this scenario sounds, there is an equally horrifying scenario to consider; one that is occurring in every corner of the world even as you read these words. It is called hunger. Not the type of hunger that many of us experience after eating a small breakfast and the hours before we can have lunch drag on slowly. No, this type of hunger is gnawing and all consuming; a day after day process of not having enough to eat. Not knowing when or where the next meal may be coming from. Not knowing even if it will be coming.
Children are particularly susceptible to the pain and discomfort that hunger causes. In a country as rich in assets and dollars as the United States, there are still an estimated 20 million children who live here in abject poverty, denied the most basic of needs such as warmth, clothing, medical care and food. Consider this statistic: someone starves to death somewhere in the world every 3.6 seconds, and 75% of these are children under the age of five. Nearly 3 million children died in 2008 before reaching their 5th birthday due to hunger and malnutrition that resulted because of hunger. Whether it is in a small desert town or a large affluent city, hunger abounds on the streets.
In the United States, the government food stamp program supplies funds designed to assist low income individuals in purchasing food. There is no doubt that this is much needed assistance; however, it is a program that is fraught with problems as well. Many people who do not need the assistance are yet able to receive it due to system loopholes, decreasing the amount of funds that are able to go to the truly needy. There are also a high percentage of food stamps that are used inappropriately; traded for favors or drugs, used for non-nutritional food items or traded for cash. Hunger in children in the U.S. is often the result of misappropriated funds designated to feed them. In fact, there are numerous children in the bigger cities of the U.S. who receive their only nourishing foods at government subsidized meals at school or soup kitchens, despite the fact their families are eligible for and, in many cases, receive free food stamps. Another fact to consider is the current economic status of the United States; wildly inflating costs that affect food items inhibits the amount of good food that a poverty level parent is able to afford to feed their children.
Looking at hunger overseas, it is easy to say that there are organizations that provide food to those unfortunate people in underdeveloped countries. It is true that several organizations have risen to the need of feeding the world’s desperately hungry individuals, with many of the dollars raised being used to supply foods that are nonperishable and inexpensive enough to be bought in large bulk. These foods include rice and grains; foods that provide nourishment and prevent starvation. What they do not provide is the protein that the body must have for strength and energy. Though the hunger in children overseas is abated through the distribution of starchy foods, their bodies nonetheless waste away due to the lack of nutrients and vitamins they need for a healthy life. In other words, though they are being fed, they hunger still.
How hunger affects children
Hunger does not only affect the physical health of children, but also their mental health and their ability to function academically. Post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression are common psychiatric issues among children who do not regularly receive good nutrition, as well as developing into a potential problem for lifetime psychiatric illness. In addition, academic scores for these children are dramatically lower; likely due to missed school days, developmental issues and learning disabilities.
How to stop hunger in children and families
So how can this horrifying situation be reversed? The obvious answer is to ensure everyone has the food they need, but the way to achieve that goal is the mystery. The world has the capability of supplying foods; for example, beans are an excellent source of lean protein and can be dried for long life and quinoa is a high protein food that is also a great source of vitamins and minerals. It is necessary to ensure that foods with high quality are fed to children to give them the body building blocks needed to grow and flourish.
With so many locations on earth prime areas for growing food, it is shameful that hunger in children and adults alike is such a prominent problem. It must become a goal for everyone on earth to invest in the future generation for the survival of the world.