Missing more than a meal
Child hunger, called the 'silent epidemic,' is an increasingly complex problem
Even when children are not hungry, studies have found that slight shortages of food in their homes are associated with serious problems. Babies and toddlers in those homes are far more likely to be hospitalized than children in families with similar incomes but adequate food. School-age children tend to learn and grow more slowly, and to get into trouble more often. Teenage girls are more prone to be depressed or even flirt with thoughts of suicide.
Solving the problem is further complicated by its subtle nature. "Most people who are hungry are not clinically manifesting what we consider hunger. It doesn't even affect body weight," said Mariana Chilton, a Drexel University medical anthropologist who is part of Children's HealthWatch, a network of pediatricians and public health researchers in Philadelphia and four other cities. Hunger cannot be solved by food alone, their work shows, because it is one strand in a web of pressures that trap families, including housing and energy costs.
A nuanced problem
This more nuanced picture is emerging as the problem has become more widespread. With the economy faltering, the number of youngsters living in homes without enough food soared in 2008 from 13 million to nearly 17 million, the Agriculture Department reported last month.
Child Hunger Is A Complex Problem (It's More Than Just Food)
The hunger problem, like the achievement gap, is more complicated than one might think due to multiple factors that Americans are not equipped to deal with; unequipped due to consumerism, selfishness, and an inability to hold 2 thoughts in one's head at a time. Life is complicated, lots of grey. Complexity is not bad, just harder than simplicity. Americans are good at simplicity.