When we think of child hunger, underdeveloped or developing countries like Yemen and India pop into our minds. And that’s completely natural. However, what we fail to realize is that child hunger is equally alarming in developed countries like the United States.
Infact, reports from Feeding America suggest that 1 out of 7 Americans (including children) aren’t sure if they will have access to two square meals a day. The lack of food and child hunger rates are even more prominent in children in the United States.
Unlike the other countries fighting child hunger, in the United States, the reason behind child hunger isn’t due to food scarcity but due to the rising rates of poverty. Low-income families struggle to balance between providing food and keeping basic needs in tandem.
The reality of food insecurity in the U.S is being tended to by Feed the Children, an organization catered towards eradicating child hunger in the country. While you are at it, let us take a look at some of the unknown and mind-boggling facts about child hunger in the U.S.
1. In America, 1 out of 6 children don’t have any idea of their next meal
As heartbreaking as it sounds, that is the reality that most Americans either don’t know or turn a blind eye to. The poverty rate in the United States stands at 13.7% in the country. This indicates that 1 in 7 Americans live with wages and income that are under the poverty threshold. The need to supply necessities like a house, education and little clothing, food, and nutrition often takes a back seat.
2. 62% of teachers suggest that they have a hungry student coming to their class
Teachers are highly perceptive and know how to assess a child when they are having a hard time. When a survey was conducted, it was found that 3 out of 4 American teachers said that they notice students coming to their classes hungry and without eating in the morning. This pattern prolongs during the recess when these kids either skip due to no money or don’t have a packed lunch with them.
3. 22 million American children rely on free or reduced-price lunch
Although not all, a handful of public schools in the United States offer free or reduced-price lunches for the underprivileged children in the school. This is to ensure that the kids at least have one fulfilling meal in the day without going without food for the entire day. Statistics even suggest that as many as 3 million children don’t eat breakfast in the morning.
4. Children repeat elementary school due to hunger
According to reports, children living under poverty with reduced access to food are 2x more likely to repeat their elementary school due to unsatisfactory or failing grades. The primary reason is them missing out on school due to weakness or malnutrition. When they miss classes, it becomes hard to cope with the lessons and secure a good grade in the process, leaving them with poor grades and some even failing.
5. Children with food insecurity are at risk of developing asthma
Besides improper education, child hunger also inadvertently affects a child’s physical well-being, leading to chronic diseases like asthma and even malnutrition. The situation worsens when these families don’t have access to health insurance, leading to a lack of access to proper treatment. Not just physically, food insecurity also affects a child mentally, leading to depression, anxiety, and a lot more complications.
6. Half the food stamps in the U.S are distributed to children
According to reports, out of the 48 million users in the SNAP program, over 20 million are children. This means that over 45% of the food stamps distributed in the U.S directly go to children. Around 49.2% of American children have used the food stamps at least once in their lives.
If you are witnessing such drastic impacts on the younger generation in the United States, it is your responsibility to act and not just see. You want to make a difference in at least one child’s life either by donating, volunteering, or taking responsibility for at least one child, so they don’t have to worry about their next meal.