1 in 10 residents and 15% of all children in Bucks County are considered “food insecure.”
What are the real consequences of hunger? Here are 5 things you need to know:
1. Kids who are hungry have a harder time concentrating in school, and are more likely to get sick.
Kids can distracted by their hunger, making it hard to focus in school. That means they fall behind academically. They also get frequent headaches and stomach aches which can lead to missed days of school. The result? They end up significantly behind their peers – and that can have long-term effects.
2. Seniors who are hungry are more likely to experience heart attacks, depression, and asthma.
Food insecure seniors often have a hard time getting all the nutrients they need to remain healthy and strong. When there are gaps in their diets, it is easier for these seniors to develop chronic health conditions such as asthma and heart problems. By making nutritious food available through pantries and senior centers, seniors will face less health challenges based on their diet.
3. Pregnant women who experience food insecurity are more likely to experience birth complications than women who are food secure.
Poor pregnancy outcomes are more likely for food insecure women, including low birth weights and gestational diabetes. Additionally, babies born to food insecure parents are more likely to face developmental challenges, physically, mentally and emotionally.
4. People who have experienced recurring hunger in early childhood are more likely to have personality disorders and behavioral problems throughout their lives.
Research shows infants who suffered from hunger were more anxious, less sociable, and more hostile than those who were well-nourished throughout childhood, according to a study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
According to Time Magazine, hunger also seemed to stifle people’s sociability. Children who went hungry were three times more likely to have abnormally low scores for this trait in middle age. The same was true regarding the ability to reliably organize and follow through on plans.
5. Food insecure people are often malnourished because nutritious, healthy foods are harder to obtain.
The cheapest, most accessible food is generally some of the least nutritious food out there. Highly processed snacks, fast foods, and nonperishable items tend to be high in sodium and fats and low in vitamins and minerals. For people who may be missing meals already, it’s important that they can access healthy foods like fresh produce and nutritious meals to fill in these gaps.
All these facts have one common thread: they are preventable, especially here in Bucks County. You can stop a tummy from grumbling in school. You can give an older resident a chance to get their health back on track. You can provide an expectant mother with the nutrition she needs to sustain her baby.
Donate to Bucks Knocks Out Hunger and tackle these concerns right here in our backyard. $5 can provide 20 nutrient-dense meals or 10 pounds of fresh, local produce to pantries.
To give, visit www.uwbucks.org/BKOHunger, mail a check made out to United Way of Bucks County (memo line: BKO Hunger) to 413 Hood Blvd, Fairless Hills PA 19030, or call 215.949.1660 to give by credit card over the phone.