Kids in unstable housing more likely to suffer from hunger and poor health

December 3rd, 2008 - 12:03 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 3 (ANI): A new study has shown that children whose families move frequently or live in overcrowded conditions are more likely to suffer from hunger and poor health than those in stable housing.

The study was carried out by the Childrens Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program (C-SNAP), which has the largest clinical data base on poor children under age three in America.

The study found that over 38 percent of families with children under age three interviewed in Boston Medical Centers emergency room had moved more than two times in the previous 12 months, lived in overcrowded conditions, or were doubled up with another family.

The study calls these families the hidden homeless.

Children whose families had moved two or more times were almost twice as likely to be in poor health as children in stable housing.

According to C-SNAP founder, Deborah A. Frank, director of BMCs Grow Clinic, Like so many of the economic conditions hurting our young children hidden homelessness is an invisible problem until doctors see it written on the bodies of infants and toddlers.

The report estimates that there are at least 14,800 hidden homeless families in Boston and the number is likely to grow as the economy declines.

Low-income families are contending with unprecedented challenges: increasing unemployment, continued high rates of foreclosures, rising food prices and heating costs that stretch family budgets to the breaking point, said Samantha Morton, Deputy Director of MLPC.

When youve lost your job and cant afford the grocery bill, electricity bill, and rent, trade-offs are made and family health suffers, she added.

The report offers targeted policy prescriptions.

The hope is that this report can serve as a guide for beginning to solve this crisis, said Megan Sandel, MD, a pediatrician at BMC.

The economic events this winter serve as the perfect storm for our patients. We call on legislators to make these policy prescriptions a reality for the better health of our children, she added. (ANI)

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