Minority Children Going Hungry During Summer Months

From the Grio.com

Many minority children go hungry during the summer

Many minority children go hungry during the summer

Lack of access to healthy meals during summer months is, ironically, causing two separate health issues among minority children: hunger and obesity.

Statistics from the Food Research and Action Center show that 32 percent of

black households with children were food insecure in 2010, almost 12 percent higher than the national average.

This research indicates that food insecurity — when families do not know if they will have enough food to eat — is also to blame for the rises in obesity and hunger.

Another FRAC report explains that hunger, caused by a lack of sufficient healthy foods, and obesity, due to unhealthy eating and bad exercise habits, are the result of low incomes and a lack of access to nutritious foods.

The two problems can co-exist due to poverty, experts say. And, during the summer when many low-income parents can hardly afford camps, many minority children are left inactive and eating poorly.

Low-income parents may also experience what FRAC calls cycles of food deprivation and overeating — essentially skipping meals to stretch budgets, and overeating whenever they do eat.

Education experts have dealt with this phenomenon for many years, of how to overcome the lack of access to food and physical activity once school is out. Adequate nutrition is fundamental for brain development and improves a child’s cognitive functioning, which helps improve grades during the school year, they say.