Hunger’s impact on children
Children of all socioeconomic levels are at-risk for poor nutrition. Some children do
not get enough to eat each day because their families lack money to buy sufficient
food. Other children consume enough food but have diets high in fat, sugar, and sodium that put them at risk for obesity or heart disease and other chronic
Nutrition and Learning
Inadequate weight gain during pregnancy can increase the risk of having a low birthweight (under 5.5 pounds) baby. Low birthweight infants are more likely than
other infants to have hearing, vision, or learning problems and to require special education services.
Iron deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutritional problems of children in the United States. Iron deficiency in infancy may cause a permanent loss of IQ later in
life. Iron deficiency and anemia lead to shortened attention span, irritability, fatigue,
and difficulty with concentration.
A test of the speed and accuracy of response on problem-solving tasks given to children who did or did not eat breakfast found that skipping breakfast had an
adverse influence on their performance on the tests.
Children who are hungry or undernourished also have more difficulty fighting infection. Therefore, they are more likely to become sick, miss school, and fall behind in class.
“Hunger is a problem we can solve together.”
President Barack Obama, November 2009