Malnutrition: An Everlasting Cycle of Hardship
Feb 10 | Vatsalya Verma
In most people’s minds, the term “malnutrition” usually is associated with third-world countries. However, malnutrition affects approximately 13 million children on our own soil. According to the organization No Kid Hungry, 1 in 6 kids in our country may not have access to healthy, or even much food at all. Overweight children can also fall victim to malnutrition; it may seem like they have more than enough calories to consume, but if these calories do not contain the right balance of nutrients, their health may still be severely compromised.
Infants who do not obtain proper nutrition during their fundamental years of development can be at risk for weak immune systems as well as mental inadequacies later on in life. Without having the cognitive skills to succeed in school and obtain vital opportunities to better themselves, these children growing up in poverty may be forever imprisoned in a life of hardship.
Although there are programs to help low income children receive meals at school during the academic year, most of these children do not have access to healthy food during the summer. Subsidized lunches at school are a great step in the right direction, but very few programs exist to provide low income children with breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Children who consume breakfast regularly are less likely to become obese and are more likely to engage in sports and other physical activities.
Evidence also suggests that children who do not typically eat a well-balanced breakfast are more prone to having behavioral issues in the classroom. Without proper nutrition, these kids have a huge academic disadvantage which may set them back the rest of their lives. Having more comprehensive programs that target the basic causes of why lower class children typically have difficulties excelling in school will ensure that the playing field is more even, and that all children will have the tools that are essential in order to reach their full potentials.