“According to Canadian food banks, they provide last resort support to food insecure households. In March of 2009, almost 800,00 Canadians made use of local food banks. Lack of economic resources causes practically food insecurity.“ Raphael, D., & Mikkonen, J.
(2010). Social determinants of health: The Canadian facts York University School of Health Policy and Management. As a result, poor nutrition is associated with decreased physical and mental health in all people more in young children, as it can profoundly affect their development as this is a crucial phase of their growth and lack of resources for basic needs is an indication of poverty. Thus, one may argue that food insecurity is a symptom of poverty, which has a direct impact on child development and educational outcome. First of all, proper nutrition is a foundation for children developmental growth and lack of food can affect children’s health. Food insecurity associated with malnutrition that delays in motor skills, cognitive deficits, and a decline in school performance. Low academic achievement in younger ages and grade failure is a predictor of low long-term education achievement and later behavior problems.
Furthermore, according to (Alaimo, K., Olson, C. M., & Frongillo Jr, E.
A. (2001). Food insufficiency and American school-aged children’s cognitive, academic, and psychosocial development.
Pediatrics, 108(1), 44). Children who are famished has the high risk of getting low academic grades because they cannot concentrate on their lesson. They are quickly annoyed due to hunger, and also it can influence their mental ability to work, and their relationship towards other children are also affected. Also, it decreases their motivation to study and be active in class participation. Besides, children who are hungry can get low academic grades and always late or absent from their class. For example, children in school who are hungry can be grumpy and irritated because they think about food, so they end up being sleepy and unattentive to their teacher. They may lash out in uncontrollable tantrums and disrupt the class as a whole, which in turn could cause other children to do as such. As a result, it can undermine their school readiness, and it can be detrimental to their academic success.
Later on, they will be less likely to be successful, have stable and well-paying jobs when they grow-up and still suffering from food insecurity. Secondly, food security is a severe threat to the growth and development of young children. Dietary deficiencies are another significant effect of food security on children due to the socio-economic status. Especially those low-income parents including single mothers, because of financial insufficiency and lack of parental supervision, they don’t have access to provide healthy foods, and the only thing they can afford are those without nutritional value. That is according to (Smythe, Y. V. (2011). When a mother’s love is not enough.
Toronto: Women’s Health and Environment Network). Single parents and families with low income tend to buy fast food or quick food fixes to satisfy the hunger of the child but do not give the child the nutrients needed for growth. According to (Raphael, D., & Mikkonen, J. (2010). Social determinants of health: The Canadian facts York University School of Health Policy and Management). “The Canadian Community Health Survey found that food insecurity is more common in households that contain children (10.
45). It also found that food insecurity is more common in households led by lone mothers (25%). Also, food insecurity is a barrier to adequate dietary intake as it can damage the growth development of the children. Apparently, children who are lack of vitamins and minerals are at risk of getting sick and can lead to more severe illness such as; heart disease, early diabetes, food allergies and developing asthma. It causes a higher financial stress on the parents because they now have to incur medical bills to combat the child’s poor quality of health. This vicious cycle happens all too often with unstable families and single parents. Also, food insecurity affects the eating patterns during infancy and early childhood. It’s associated with increased risk of childhood obesity that can lead to gestational diabetes and stunted growth.
Food insecurity produces stress and feelings of uncertainty that have health-threatening effects. For example, children must eat a balanced meal every day such as vegetable, fruits, and milk products to acquire the nutrients needed for their development. It aids the child to understand proper eating habits and why they need to eat healthy food to grow active in both the body but also in mind. Lastly, it can affect the children’s socio-emotional development. Food is fundamental to children’s health, and the absence of necessities such as food can cause anxiety, and it can increase the number of physical and mental health conditions. Children who are food insufficient are prone to emotional distress that can lead to more emotional problems such as; anger, fear or depression.
And it can be detrimental to their psychological health. For example, children who go to school without food can have a negative impact on their ability to engage in stimulating interactions with other children at school or in public care. They end up becoming lazy and deprive themselves of enjoying a healthy childhood.
Furthermore, parental distress and irritability due to constant worries that link to not having enough food to provide can affect children’s emotion. Hence, children will become more aggravated and frustrated which in turn can change their psycho-social behavior. Moreover, hunger can decrease their psycho-social function and will receive psychological counseling later on in their adult life. Thus, food insecurity will increase the risk of mental disabilities, poorer health and wellness outcomes due to lower quality nutrition among children. In conclusion, by treating food insecurity as the severe health risk will ultimately improve the child’s development and the educational outcome.If the government and healthcare providers help those families with low income by forming food insecurity as a health concern and nutrition assistance as a component of healthcare, it will lessen the stress and pressures that parents are suffering.
Moreover, active government participation in addressing this concern can improve the sustainability of the child care system. Also, communities must focus on systematic solutions to ultimately eliminate food insecurity and its causes in child development and educational outcomes. In addition to building communities that support families, they have to ensure that they can provide an available nutrition assistance for children and families with low incomes. Most importantly, food insecurity will reduce if the government will increase the minimum wage and social assistance rates to the level where adequate food is affordable. According to Juha Mikkonen and Dennis Raphael.
Author of the book titled: Social Detriments of health: The Canadian facts.