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Child & Senior Hunger

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Child & Senior Hunger

Child Hunger

A staggering one in five children is food insecure in central and northern New York, and the Mohawk Valley. Chronic hunger, although harmful to all people, is particularly devastating to our most vulnerable population: children.

Research has shown that childhood food insecurity is connected to a large number of developmental delays or deficiencies in school-aged children including physical, psychological, and behavioral health issues. Conditions linked to childhood food insecurity include:

  • Impaired development of non-cognitive abilities (i.e., interpersonal relations, self-control) among school-age children
  • Insecure attachment and less advanced mental proficiency in toddlers

  • Lower bone mineral content in adolescent boys
  • More stomachaches, frequent headaches, and colds among children
  • Higher hospitalization rates among young children
  • Behavioral problems among three-year-old children
  • Higher rates of depressive disorder and suicidal symptoms among adolescents
  • More anxiety and depression among school-age children
  • Lower math achievement and math progress in kindergartners

  • Lower math and reading gains from kindergarten to third grade

  • Lower arithmetic scores and higher likelihood of repeating a grade among children ages 6-11 [i]

Senior Hunger

More than 5 million senior citizens aged 60 and older face food insecurity. Seniors face a number of unique medical and mobility challenges that put them at a greater risk of food insecurity. After a lifetime of hard work, many find themselves struggling with health issues on fixed incomes. Many of these individuals are forced to choose between paying for groceries and buying medicine.

  • 63% of client households with seniors report making choices between paying for food and paying for medicine/medical care.
  • 41% of client households with an adult age 50 and older have at least one member with diabetes
  • 70% of client households with an older adult have at least one member who has high blood pressure.
  • 59% of those ages 50 to 64 described their own health as fair or poor, a higher rate than that of seniors ages 65 to 74 (53%) and age 75 and older (51%).

[i] Coleman-Jensen, Alisha, William McFall and Mark Nord. Food Insecurity in Households With Children: Prevalence, Severity, and Household Characteristics, 2010-11, EIB-113, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, May 2013.