Child hunger rising in the USA

This is a video about hunger and poverty in the USA.

By Kate Randall:

Child hunger in US rose by 50 percent in 2007

20 November 2008

Some 691,000 children went hungry in America in 2007, a rise of 50 percent over the previous year, while one in eight Americans overall struggled to feed themselves. The figures are reported in a study on food security conducted annually by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Of the 36.2 million people who struggled with hunger during the year, almost a third of these adults and children faced a substantial disruption to their food supply, meaning they went hungry at some point. The number of these most hungry Americans has grown by more than 40 percent since 2000, rising to 11.9 million individuals in 2007.

These statistics are all the more alarming since they do not reflect the impact of the current economic crisis. James Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, predicted the 2008 numbers would show even more hunger.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a formal recommendation that its members begin screening all their patients—in effect, every child in America—for food insecurity. The extraordinary action, the first of its kind for the medical group, testifies to the spread of hunger and destitution throughout the United States: here.

8 thoughts on “Child hunger rising in the USA

  1. Poverty may reduce kids’ brain function

    Dec. 6, 2008
    Courtesy University of California, Berkeley
    and World Science staff

    In alarm­ing re­search re­sults that they de­scribe as a “wake-up call,” psy­chol­o­gists have found poorer chil­dren tend to suf­fer from re­duced brain ac­ti­vity.

    “The stress­ful and rel­a­tively im­pov­er­ished en­vi­ron­ment as­so­ci­at­ed with low so­ci­o­ec­on­omic sta­tus” may be re­spon­si­ble, said psy­cholo­g­ist Rob­ert Knight of Uni­ver­s­ity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, one of the re­search­ers. “Fewer books, less read­ing, few­er games, few­er vis­its to mu­se­ums.”

    Knight sus­pects prop­er train­ing can elim­i­nate the dif­fer­ences. His group is work­ing with neu­ro­sci­en­tists who use games to im­prove chil­dren’s rea­son­ing abil­ity.

    As it stands, “kids from low­er so­ci­o­ec­on­omic lev­els show brain phys­i­ol­o­gy pat­terns si­m­i­lar to some­one who ac­tu­ally had dam­age in the front­al lobe [part of the brain] as an adult,” Knight con­tin­ued. “We found that kids are more likely to have a low re­sponse if they have low so­ci­o­ec­on­omic sta­tus, though not eve­ry­one who is poor has low front­al lobe re­sponse.”

    In a study ac­cept­ed for pub­lica­t­ion in the Jour­nal of Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­sci­ence, Knight and col­leagues found that nor­mal 9- and 10-year-olds dif­fer­ing only in so­ci­o­ec­on­omic sta­tus have de­tect­a­ble dif­fer­ences in the re­sponse of their prefront­al cor­tex, the part of the brain crit­i­cal for prob­lem solv­ing and cre­ati­vity.

    Brain func­tion was meas­ured by means of an elec­tro­en­ce­pha­lo­graph, a cap fit­ted with elec­trodes to meas­ure elec­tri­cal ac­ti­vity in the brain like that used to as­sess ep­i­lep­sy, sleep dis­or­ders and brain tu­mors.

    Al­though pre­vi­ous re­search had al­so sug­gested poorer chil­dren suf­fer from less brain stimula­t­ion, past stud­ies used “only in­di­rect meas­ures of brain func­tion and could not dis­en­tan­gle the ef­fects of in­tel­li­gence, lan­guage pro­fi­cien­cy and oth­er fac­tors,” said the uni­ver­s­ity’s Mark Ki­shi­yama, a mem­ber of the re­search team. “Our study is the first with di­rect meas­ure of brain ac­ti­vity where there is no is­sue of task com­plex­ity.”


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