Preventing child hunger in the United States is as possible as ending it. However, compared to underdeveloped countries where children die steadily from malnutrition, it may appear like the US has no hunger challenge worth mentioning.
While hunger may not be evident in the country, unlike the rest of the world, it doesn’t mean zero hunger.
The millions of children experiencing food insecurity (lack of access to sufficient and quality food for a healthy, active life) and hunger in the US are invisible due to the people’s lack of understanding of what hunger entails and the policymakers unwillingness to pay attention to starvation as a national priority.
What are the strategies for ending child hunger in the US? Remember, you can be part of the fight against child hunger in the country. Learn about childhood hunger here and how you can make a difference.
History of Child Hunger in the US
During the economic recession of 2008, the United States experienced a dramatic rise in food insecurity. Between 1995 to 2008, about 30 to 35 million persons experienced food insecurity in the US. However, in 2008, the number jumped to 49 million, about 14.6 percent of the US total population.
This increase which should have indicated a national emergency, went largely unnoticed by the people, garnering little to no response from policymakers. Meanwhile, food insecurity doesn’t wait for any man.
Presently, the situation is almost the same, especially as the whole country is still feeling the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Households with children are more hit than those without children.
More so, Latino and Black families suffer from food insecurity triple times more than white families. Besides being unbearable, food insecurity and hunger are serious public health problems.
Causes of Child Hunger in the US
Poor Child Health
Child hunger in the US is often associated with poor child health, truncated emotional, cognitive and social development, and high hospitalization rates. Food insecurity affects school children’s performance, ability to behave and pay attention, and reading test scores. While in teenagers, it often leads to depression and suicidal ideation.
Food insecurity isn’t a genetic or innate congenital disorder nor an infectious disease that strikes randomly. Moreover, children’s hunger isn’t inevitable, as the US produces sufficient food that can feed its entire citizens.
Food security is entirely preventable and wholly manufactured. It’d be best to treat child hunger in the country by seeing the right to quality food as a human right.
Inadequate Attention to Child Nutrition Programs
Before there’s a decrease in child hunger in the United States, the government should strengthen child nutrition programs.
Besides being essential tools for stopping child hunger in the country, they also boost children’s development, health, and school performance. Therefore, local, state, and national practices and policies must ensure that every American kid enjoys quality meal.
These programs will cover school breakfasts and lunches, summer, afterschool food, childcare food, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
How to End Child Hunger in the US
Ending child hunger in the US requires some specific and immediate steps. Thus, governments, food relief organizations, and individuals must come together to treat the matter urgently.
Clear-cut strategies for ending hunger that involves all stakeholders must be created to ensure sufficient nutritious and affordable food. Some of these strategies may include:
Understand the Demographics and Scope of Hunger
To eradicate child hunger in the US, we need first to understand the nation’s demographics and scope of starvation. Fortunately, the USDA is handling such information. With this mapping, we can look at food insecurity by ethnicity, household type, region, race, and gender.
Understanding these factors will help in creating and expanding nutrition programs for children and female-headed households.
Improve Government Agency Cooperation and Coordination
Another strategy is to improve government agency cooperation and coordination. Child hunger doesn’t affect only the USDA.
Other agencies like the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Health should come together to address the numerous social issues creating hunger and poverty. Some of these issues include low educational attainment, poor health, deprivation, and lack.
The US government must improve accountability by ensuring that it allocates responsibilities and sets time frames for ending child hunger.
One way to do this is by being open to the American public about the country’s actual rates of food insecurity. More so, they must set clear targets and benchmarks; however, those targets are only helpful when actions are taken to match them.
Few people know the actual food insecurity rate in the country because the US child hunger statistics aren’t readily accessible, not clearly understood by the people, and receive little media attention.
This absence of widespread knowledge about hunger and food insecurity in the country has made our lawmakers continue to ignore this pressing problem.
Get All Hands Involved in Any Strategy to End Child Hunger
There should be adequate public participation in developing, implementing, and evaluating a working strategy to end child hunger. This participation must include the affected people, government, individuals, and feeding the hungry charities.
Households affected by food insecurity know better than others how hunger affects their families and its causes. So, they can disclose where they need help, and support groups will proffer the best solution for them.
While several food relief organizations, such as Food for Life Global, have, through their numerous programs, made a considerable impact in ending child hunger in the US, more effort is still required to eradicate this menace.
The battle against child hunger in the US, which has seen significant results, has once again increased due to the Coronavirus pandemic. A national plan is needed, and it requires the participation of all concerned individuals, organizations, and the government.
Participation in feeding hungry American children and subsequently eradicating child hunger shouldn’t be seen as an act of charity but of humanity.
That way, nearly 14 million American children wouldn’t have to worry about where their next meal will come from and become food secure. To help Food for Life Global achieve this mission, simply go through their website and see how you can help.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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