The effects of hunger, especially with children, create what is called food insecurity. Food insecurity is a lack of adequate access to food for financial reasons. Child hunger is an extreme manifestation of food insecurity. This is defined as a period of time when children are actually hungry because their family has run out of food or has no money to buy food. Children who go hungry for more than a single time tend to have more chronic illnesses, such as asthma, than children who had never been hungry. Food insecurity also affects emotional and psychological health of children, causing stress which also contributes to chronic disease.
According to a new report from the Center for American Progress: Hunger in America (October 5, 2011):
“Children from food insecure households are more likely than their food secure peers to experience higher rates of various forms of educational problems. They are at least 50 percent more likely to miss days of school (1.6 times), nearly twice as likely to be suspended (1.95 times), and almost 50 percent more likely to have to repeat a grade (1.44) times.
These and other related adverse outcomes are linked to an increased likelihood of school failure, including dropping out of school. These outcomes lead to a greater likelihood of limited employability, lessened workforce productivity, poorer judgment and job performance, and $260,000 lower lifetime earnings. Therefore since food insecurity impedes learning and school performance and ultimately lowers productivity and earning potential, hunger exacts a significant monetary cost.”