According to Dr. Deborah A. Frank, the current Director of the Grow Clinic for Children at the Boston Medical Center pointed out that the fastest brain growth happens in the first years of a child’s life, more than doubling in size. The development of neurotransmitters that control brain functions are greatly affected by the quantity and quality of the food that a child consumes.
For students, they need enough nutritious food to help in concentration and school activities. Hungry students are usually lacking in concentration and efficient brain functions compared to students who are healthy.
There is an increasing agreement that later in life, hungry students will struggle to graduate, to find a job, and to live as healthy adults. This could result in weakening workforce, thus costing taxpayers.
In a research entitled “Too Hungry to Learn: Food Insecurity and School Readiness”, researchers came up with data that demonstrates how delayed brain functions, continuing sickness, and social development is caused by hunger which prevents the children’s preparedness to learn in a school setting.
The research also tied food insecurity to iron deficiency in children, which can harm the development of basic social and motor skills. Hunger stays with children throughout their school years, which could even damage the fundamental brain structures controlling memory and social functioning. (Source: www.takepart.com)
This is the list of hunger’s impact on the economy and children according to Iowa Food Bank Association:
- Hungry children are sick and more likely to get hospitalized. The cost of hospitalization is distributed to the business community which causes insurance and tax burdens. An average pediatric hospitalization may cost roughly $12,000.
- Adults who are working and experiencing chronic hunger as a kid are not as well prepared mentally, physically, socially, mentally, to perform effectively in the current workforce.
- The annual cost of food insecurity :
- $130.5 billion due to illness costs linked to food insecurity and hunger.
- $19.2 billion – the value of poor educational results and lower lifetime earnings linked to food insecurity and hunger.
- $17.8 billion – for charitable contributions to address food security and hunger.
- $542 – Hunger costs for every citizen (Center for American Progress, Hunger in America)
- Hunger in children could lead to greater presenteeism, absenteeism, and turnover in the workforce, which is expensive to employers because children’s sick days are associated to parent employee absences.
- Due to high school repeating grades and absenteeism, food security led to a great loss of $19.2 billion in lifetime earnings in the year 2010.
- Poorly nourished children perform not so well in school and require far long-term health spending. Child hunger costs the U.S economy at least $28 billion each year.
- Workers who experienced hunger at a young age could be less competitive, with lower levels of technical and educational skills, and completely constrained human capital workforce pool. (Source: iowafba.org)
Finally, one should know that hunger should be considered a priority. Just see how hunger can affect the economy and even productivity. Take action and together let’s reduce and defeat hunger.