Tackling America’s Children Living With Hunger And Poverty

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – There are now a higher percentage of children living in poverty in America than during the Great Recession. Six years after the global financial and economic crisis, hunger still remains high here. America’s Health Rankings highlights that children living in poverty are three times more likely than other children to have their health needs unmet. Therefore, improving access to healthy foods and nutrition education does benefit the health of these vulnerable children. It is troubling to think that in such an advanced and developed country that there are children who are going hungry.

The United Health Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation have decided to collaborate to address hunger and poverty in the States. They will provide $150,000 in the first round of grants to support innovative projects across the country that will improve children’s health and nutrition. This first round of grants is partly funded by United Health Foundation’s $500,000 contribution to the Whole Kids Foundation. Together, these two organisations are supporting the efforts of not-for-profits and schools to help bring in new solutions to serve and educate children on the importance of good health and nutrition.

The program and grants will bring together multi-sector leaders in food, health, fitness and technology in support of the next big idea, and is open to educators, individuals and not-for-profit organisations seeking to break down barriers to basic, but critical information and resources, such as where food comes from and the importance of eating healthy foods. Preference will be given to projects that have a case study and are ready to expand across at least one grade level and the grants are part of United Health Foundation’s ‘Helping Build Healthier Communities’ program, which provides resources to local not-for-profits with programs aimed at expanding access to care, improving health outcomes and building healthier communities.

There are already some wonderful creative projects happening to change things. Less than one percent of children in the States get the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. That’s why school gardens are an excellent idea, giving schoolchildren the hands-on experience to learn how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest produce and understand the value of good eating habits. Cooking initiatives geared for kids incorporate simple, fun recipes that spark young people’s interest in food, cooking and health.

Children living in poverty experience increased rates of infant mortality, higher rates of low birth weight and subsequent health and developmental problems such as chronic disease. They also have worse education outcomes with poor academic achievement and lower rates of high school graduation. Therefore, reducing child poverty is not only the right thing to do, but makes smart economic sense: it costs America’s economy nearly four percent of gross domestic product (GDP) every year. To put this in perspective, the Great Recession cost the economy 4.7 percent of GDP over two years.

Photo Credit: United Health Group/3BL Media