Everything seems fine as I review the chart. My 10:15 a.m. patient is a toddler who has no medical problems and is growing well. When I enter the room, I explain to mom how a child’s health is determined by several factors outside of the doctor’s control, and I ask her to complete a form that all parents fill out during well-child visits. This form screens for a number of social determinants of health, including food insecurity (FI). Even though the child has an intact family and appears well on examination, the completed form is highly positive for FI. Read more
Twenty-two percent of children in the United States live in families with incomes below the poverty level. While this alone is a frightening statistic, it becomes even more alarming when you realize that poverty has a direct correlation to child maltreatment.
A 2010 study of child abuse and neglect led by Andrea J. Sedlak, PhD, found that children living in lower-income or poverty-level households are three times more likely to become victims of neglect, or physical or sexual abuse. In most cases one or more parent is the perpetrator. Read more
In Camden, New Jersey, young children and youths face community violence, struggling schools, family problems, and poverty on a daily basis. They navigate a city widely considered to be among the most dangerous in the United States. The unemployment rate in Camden is approximately 40 percent, and about 90 percent of the city’s school children are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. Many families experience difficulty meeting fundamental needs, such as acquiring sufficient food. Here, Dr. Marano reflects on the relationship between incarcerated youths, food insecurity, and the juvenile justice system. —Cyndi Maurer, PhD (editor)
The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. —Anatole France
Anatole France was known for his ironic commentary on French social conditions at the end of the 19th century. His words continue to resonate because, for some, there is difficulty in securing shelter, food, and other things that cost money. Having enough money for food, clothing, and shelter may seem basic to many of us but would seem like luxury to others. Read more
From the city streets of Baltimore to the wide open spaces of Kansas and the suburban cul-de-sacs of Fort Worth, kids will struggle to eat this summer. Summer vacation will be a time of anxiety and stress for low-income families forced to decide between buying a bag of groceries and paying the electric bill.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Summer meals are available to help millions of children get the nutrition they need. These meals could be a catalyst for improving the overall well-being of children across the nation.
One in five kids in the United States lives in a “food insecure” family, a family that struggles to consistently put enough food on the table for everyone. During the school year, free and reduced-price meals at school are a lifeline, ensuring that children get reliable access to nutrition. When schools close for the summer, however, these meals disappear. In one recent survey, low-income families say grocery bills can rise as much as $300 a month during the summer, putting incredible pressure on already-strained budgets. Read more
Thursday, UNICEF released Fairness for Children: A League Table of Inequality in Child Well-being in Rich Countries (Innocenti Report Card 13). This comparative study looks at income inequality among households with children in the richest nations around the globe.
In the U.S., among households with children, there is a 58.9 percent gap between households at the median income level and those at the 10 percent level (those whose income is less than that of 90 percent of all households with children). Why is this measure important? Economists use it to show how far a country allows its poorest children to fall below children in families with an average income. In calculating it, all social programs that help to lessen the gap are taken into account. Read more