Starving kids and youth ‘more likely to have health problems’

August 3rd, 2010 - 5:04 pm ICT by ANI  


Washington, Aug 3 (ANI): A recent report has revealed that
children and youth who experience hunger are more likely to have health
problems, and repeated episodes of hunger may be particularly toxic.

Sharon I. Kirkpatrick of the National Cancer Institute and
colleagues analyzed data from a Canadian survey of 5,809 children age 10 to 15
years and 3,333 youth age 16 to 21 years over a 10-year period, from 1994 to

During this time, 3.3 percent of children and 3.9 percent of
youth had ever experienced hunger and 1.1 percent of children and 1.4 percent of
youth were hungry at two or more time points.

Overall, more than one in 10 children (13.5 percent) and one
in four youth (28.6 percent) reported poor health in the final round of the

Rates of poor health were higher among those who were
hungry at any time than among those who had never experienced hunger (32.9
percent vs. 12.8 percent for children and 47.3 percent vs. 27.9 percent for

“The mechanism by which childhood hunger negatively
affects health is not well understood. Food insecurity has been associated with
emotional and psychological stress among children, which could exert a negative
effect on general health and contribute to heightened risk of chronic
diseases,” the authors said.

“The findings of this study add to the literature
showing that hunger is a serious risk factor for long-term poor health among
children and youth, pointing to the relevance of severe food insecurity as an
identifiable marker of vulnerability.

The findings also reinforce the need for advocacy for policy
interventions to eliminate problems of poverty and food insecurity, which pose
an unacceptable but remediable risk to children,” they added.

The report findings were published in journal
Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. (ANI)

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