How Food Insecurity Affects Children’s Education

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Food Insecurity Statistics

In the 21st century, food insecurity remains a global problem that affects people’s health and wellbeing. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), over 820 million, or one in nine people in the world, suffer from hunger today (n.d.). The number of people who do not have access to healthy and sufficient food has been increasing worldwide since 2015. The most affected region is Africa, while the situation in Europe and Northern America is the most positive. A similar contrast can be seen in such an area as access to education, which suggests a relationship between food insecurity and children’s education. The situation in New York City is also alarming; over 1.2 million people suffer from malnutrition.

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Severity and consequences of food insecurity

There are two categories of food insecurity: moderate, when people are limited in money or other resources and cannot afford a nutritious diet, and severe when people do not eat for days and experience hunger. Children are at greatest risk in both cases, as malnutrition has a direct negative impact on their future. The consequence of the issue is obesity and health problems in the middle- and high-income households of NYC as a result of a meal gap and an unbalanced poor diet. According to Faught et al. (2017), food insecurity can also be harmful to academic performance. As a result, a poorly-educated individual has low income and continue suffering from world hunger.

Education and food insecurity

The importance of education and access to knowledge in the modern world is undoubtful. For children from low-income households, it is a means to leave poverty. However, inadequate or insufficient nutrition does not provide microelements needed for healthy development. The study by Faught et al. (2017) has shown that students from low-income families had worse performance in Reading, Writing, and Math. Besides, food insecurity can result in negative psychosocial outcomes for children, causing mental health and cognitive development issues.

Measures taken in New York City to improve food security

Understanding the harmful effect of malnutrition for individuals and society as a whole, people try to fight world hunger. As Doherty (2018) states, several measures are taken in NYC to help people in need. Among them is initiating Emergency Food Assistance Program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that provide food and funding for recipients. The Breakfast in the Classroom program offers free breakfasts in schools in the first year. Another measure is supporting farmer markets and establishing Green Carts that sell fresh fruit and vegetables on the street. There are also Community Garden Programs that encourage high school students to learn about food initiatives and urban agriculture from experienced gardeners.

Suggested solutions for combating food insecurity in NYC

However, NYC needs more involvement and effort in supporting people who are affected by food insecurity. The problem of poor education of children can only be solved through providing education. Showing people how to improve the quality of their life will enable them to share knowledge with their children. Encouraging investment is important, but it is impossible without specialized knowledge. Another solution involves restaurants, which could make sure that families in the community get the food that was not sold or used within the working day, instead of throwing away leftover foods. In doing so, the restaurants can sponsor two to three households in the community that are below or on the poverty borderline.

Conclusion

In conclusion, access to education is the primary tool in fighting poverty and food insecurity. In addition to measures that are being taken in NYC, it would be efficient to help restaurants to organize supplies of leftover foods to families in need. It is also necessary to provide open access to education to people from low-income households. The vicious circle of poverty has to be stopped by ensuring that there are possibilities for development. Education means a better life and more opportunities for present and future generations.

References

Doherty, M. (2018). 10 Ways NYC is Trying to Combat Food Insecurity. One Green Planet. Web.

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Faught, E. L., Williams, P. L., Willows, N. D., Asbridge, M., & Veugelers, P. J. (2017). The association between food insecurity and academic achievement in Canadian school-aged children. Public health nutrition, 20(15), 2778-2785. Web.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (n.d.) The state of food security and nutrition in the world: 2019. Web.

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