Child & Senior Hunger

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Child & Senior Hunger

Child Hunger

A staggering one in five children is food insecure in central and northern New York. Chronic hunger, although harmful to all people, is particularly devastating to our most vulnerable population: children.

Research has shown that childhood food insecurity is connected to a large number of developmental delays or deficiencies in school-aged children including physical, psychological, and behavioral health issues. Conditions linked to childhood food insecurity include:

  • Impaired development of non-cognitive abilities (i.e., interpersonal relations, self-control) among school-age children
  • Insecure attachment and less advanced mental proficiency in toddlers

  • Lower bone mineral content in adolescent boys
  • More stomachaches, frequent headaches, and colds among children
  • Higher hospitalization rates among young children
  • Behavioral problems among three-year-old children
  • Higher rates of depressive disorder and suicidal symptoms among adolescents
  • More anxiety and depression among school-age children
  • Lower math achievement and math progress in kindergartners

  • Lower math and reading gains from kindergarten to third grade

  • Lower arithmetic scores and higher likelihood of repeating a grade among children ages 6-11 [i]

Senior Hunger

More than 5 million senior citizens age 60 and older face food insecurity. Seniors face a number of unique medical and mobility challenges that put them at a greater risk of food insecurity. After a lifetime of hard work, many find themselves struggling with health issues on fixed incomes. Many of these individuals are forced to choose between paying for groceries and buying medicine.

  • 63% of client households with seniors report making choices between paying for food and paying for medicine/medical care.
  • 41% of client households with an adult age 50 and older have at least one member with diabetes
  • 70% of client households with an older adult have at least one member who has high blood pressure.
  • 59% of those ages 50 to 64 described their own health as fair or poor, a higher rate than that of seniors ages 65 to 74 (53%) and age 75 and older (51%).

[i] Coleman-Jensen, Alisha, William McFall and Mark Nord. Food Insecurity in Households With Children: Prevalence, Severity, and Household Characteristics, 2010-11, EIB-113, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, May 2013.