As Food Insecurity Increases, Kids on Food Stamps See Obesity Rates Drop
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have released a report showing that the obesity rates in children living in low income families who receive benefits from supplemental food programs has dropped 1.3% from 14.9% in 2010.
Using data compiled by programs such as the federal Women, Infants and Children nutrition program (WIC), nearly 8 million people on food stamps were considered; including children younger than 5 years old.
The highest age bracket showing the most dramatic weight loss were children ages 2 to 4 years of age.
For example, Wyoming became “the nation’s 3rd lowest [in] childhood obesity rates or low-income kids” with the statistical number dropping by 1.9 percent.
In Minnesota the drop in obesity rates was less dramatic, being only a 0.4% reduction for the same age range.
And while these statistics look good, there is a bigger problem that directly effects children of low-income families – undernourishment.
For families struggling to put food on the table, micro-nutrient deficiency is a common issue where everyone gets enough calories; however they fail to take in the necessary vitamins and minerals that aid in optimum health.
Children especially are susceptible to malnutrition and the problems it causes. From disruption in cognitive growth and development of motor skills, the more undernourished a child is, the more likely he or she will suffer from illnesses that complicate every aspect of their life; including performance in school.
According to Feeding America , an estimated 17 million children are struggling with food insecurity in America. This means 1 in 4 children in the US do not have consistent access to nutritious food leaving them hungry and malnourished.
Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America explained: “The consequences and costs of child hunger make addressing this issue an economic and societal imperative, in addition to an obvious moral obligation.”
With 49% of all babies in the US born into families receiving food supplements from WIC and SNAP, food insecurity could be the reason why obesity rates are falling among low-income children.