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The potential consequences of food insecurity for children

Good nutrition, particularly in the first three years of life, is important in establishing a good foundation that has implications for a child’s future physical and mental health, academic achievement, and economic productivity. Unfortunately, food insecurity is an obstacle that threatens that critical foundation. Although food insecurity is harmful to any individual, it can be particularly devastating among children due to their increased vulnerability and the potential for long-term consequences.

Photo of Rocio Fonseca
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The potential consequences of food insecurity for children

Good nutrition, particularly in the first three years of life, is important in establishing a good foundation that has implications for a child’s future physical and mental health, academic achievement, and economic productivity. Unfortunately, food insecurity is an obstacle that threatens that critical foundation.  Although food insecurity is harmful to any individual, it can be particularly devastating among children due to their increased vulnerability and the potential for long-term consequences.

Infancy & Development
  • Children growing up in food-insecure families are vulnerable to poor health and stunted development from the earliest stages of life.
  • Pregnant women who experience food insecurity are more likely to experience birth complications than women who are food secure.
  • Inadequate access to food during pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk for low birth weight in babies.
  • Food insecurity has also been linked with delayed development, poorer attachment, and learning difficulties in the first two years of life.

Health Concerns

Studies have found that food insecurity has been associated with health problems for children that may hinder their ability to function normally and participate fully in school and other activities.
  • Children who are food insecure are more likely to require hospitalization.
  • Children who are food insecure may be at higher risk for chronic health conditions,[vi] such as anemia, and asthma.
  • Children who are food insecure may have more frequent instances of oral health problems.
  • Food insecurity among young children is associated with poorer physical quality of life,which may prevent them from fully engaging in daily activities such as school and social interaction with peers.

Behavioral Challenges

Children who experience food insecurity may be at higher risk for behavioral issues and social difficulties.
  • Food insecure children may be at greater risk of truancy and school tardiness.
  • When they are in school, children who are food insecure may experiences increases in an array of behavior problems including: fighting, hyperactivity, aggression,anxiety, mood swings, and bullying.

http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/child-development.aspx 

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Photo of Meena

Insightful stuff, Rocio! Tip: to activate links in your post, hit the Update Entry button up there on the right, then follow the instructions here: http://bit.ly/oi_link  

I was also mentioning on another discussion on this challenge: "I'm a big fan of sack gardening in low-income communities and covered this a while back in Nairobi that you might be interested to check out: http://www.randomspecific.com/mathares-micro-farms-and-market-gardens. As we approach the Ideas phase, it will be interesting of us to think about how we might ignite a widespread movement around this sort of thing to pursue impact at scale."

Looking forward to seeing more of you on OpenIDEO...

Photo of Rocio

Hi Meena! Thanks for the tip about activate links! :)
Related to the micro-farms, I really like the idea... and in areas with bad quality soil, not much space and drought I have seen that hydroponic culture (imagine if we add recycled materials :) ...
If you like the topic, maybe we can create together some idea to present in next phase :)
let me know!

Photo of Meena

I'd be so excited if folks in our OpenIDEO community collaborate on some kind of micro-farming idea, Rocio! Given I work for OpenIDEO, I don't usually officially join teams during our Ideas phase – but I hope you find people online or offline to collaborate with and share you concept with us when the ideas phase launches. And given we're big on prototyping, here's an early heads-up on tips for when you're looking at developing your idea: http://ideo.pn/pr0t0type

Photo of Rocio

Hello again! :)
Thanks for the link! Yes, as I told Louise, I would like to mix FOOD, TIME and EDUCATION as key concepts to create ideas... Let's see what happen! I'm going to work in create a team now! :)
thanks again!

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