CHILD AND YOUTH HUNGER IN MICHIGAN
Some 338,000 children in Michigan (about one in five) live in households that are “food insecure.” The deleterious effects of child hunger have been well-established: a lack of consistent, nutritious food impairs cognitive development and a child’s ability to concentrate in school. Children who are food insecure are more likely to require hospitalization, may be at risk for chronic diseases such as anemia and asthma, have more frequent instances of oral health problems and may experience an increase in an array of behavior problems including irritability, fighting, hyperactivity, aggression, and bullying. A number of organizations that have been working for several years to address this issue on both the statewide (Food Bank Council of Michigan) and local levels (Kids’ Food Basket in west Michigan and Zaman International in southeast Michigan) have done much to alleviate the problem through increasing emergency food resources and coordinating efforts among multiple agencies and participants, but the very serious problem child and youth hunger persists.
SOME QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER IN ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE:
What do you see as the root cause or causes of this problem? (To what extent is food insecurity an economic problem? A public health problem? An educational problem? A workforce problem?)
On the state level, what impact might child hunger have beyond those directly affected by this issue?
What further information—and what kind of information--would you need to better understand and address this problem?