Although food insecurity is harmful to any individual according to data compiled by Feeding America, it can be particularly devastating among children due to their increased vulnerability and the potential for long-term complications.
Infancy & Development: Children growing up in food-insecure households are more susceptible to poor health and stunted development from the earliest stages of life.
Pregnant women who experience food insecurity are more likely to experience birth complications than women who are food secure.
Inadequate access to food during pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk for low birth weight in babies.
Food insecurity has also been linked with delayed development, poorer attachment, and learning difficulties in the first two years of life.
Health Concerns: Numerous studies have found that food insecurity is associated with health problems for children that may hinder their ability to function normally and participate fully in school and other activities.
Children who are food insecure are more likely to require hospitalization.
Children who are food insecure may be at higher risk for chronic health conditions, such as anemia and asthma.
Children who are food insecure may have more frequent instances of oral health problems.
Food insecurity among young children is associated with poorer physical quality of life, which may prevent them from fully engaging in daily activities such as school and social interaction with peers.
Behavioral Challenges: Children who experience food insecurity may be at higher risk for behavioral issues and social difficulties.
Food insecure children may be at greater risk of truancy and school tardiness.
When they are in school, children who are food insecure may experience increases in an array of behavior problems including: fighting, hyperactivity, aggression, anxiety, mood swings, and bullying.