The fact that there are children living in food insecure households, that are predominantly Black or Hispanic, speaks to a major issue of social justice and distributive justice in this country that needs to be addressed. When children do not have access to food in a sustainable manner during childhood, it interrupts their development and has lasting negative effects well into adulthood. The effects of childhood food insecurity can be observed in children’s health outcomes, cognitive development, and behavior patterns.
Young children raised in food insecure households, furthermore, are known to be at increased risks for hospitalizations, poor health, aggression, anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorder (ADD). It seems very intuitive to say that food insecurity in childhood would negatively affect the physical health of the children who grow up under these circumstances. The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that the toxic stress of food insecurity in early life leads to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, asthma, and autoimmune diseases.
- Ke J., Ford-Jones E.L. Food insecurity and hunger: a review of the effects on children's health and behaviour. Paediatr Child Health. 2015;20(2):89–91.
- Yoo, J. P., Slack, K. S., & Holl, J. L. (2009). Material hardship and the physical health of school-aged children in low-income households. American Journal of Public Health, 99(5), 829-836.
- Garner AS, Shonkoff JP, Siegel BS, et al. Early childhood adversity, toxic stress, and the role of the pediatrician: Translating developmental science into lifelong health. Pediatrics. 2012;129:e224–31.
- McIntyre L, Williams JVA, Lavorato DH, Patten S. Depression and suicide ideation in late adolescence and early adulthood are an outcome of child hunger. J Affect Disord. 2013;150:123–9.