Brain Food: How Hunger Affects a Child’s Education
Healthy nutrition is important for the growth of every child’s physical and mental development. But when this necessity is not accessible, it can negatively affect the way they perform throughout their lives, especially in school. This is the unfortunate case for many kids in America, especially in the Austin area where an estimated one in five children are uncertain of when they will get their next meal.
When kids are hungry in the classroom, they are:
More Likely to Repeat a Grade
It’s a known fact that children need energy to do well in school by eating three well-balanced meals every day. Without this, they tend to have lower scores on their tests than their food-secure peers. A lack of food can also hinder the rate at which they learn reading and mathematical skills. It also affects their ability to focus and advances behavioral issues.
Suffering from the Social Stigma of a Lack of Food
As childhood hunger is often stigmatized in the media, this can cause a lack of self-esteem in a child’s development. This leads to a number of social and behavioral issues such as depression and anxiety. These students may feel left out among their peers or singled-out in their classrooms. Ultimately, being hungry in school harms how a child views themselves.
Vulnerable to Poor Health Conditions
Being deprived of food can make children more susceptible to sickness and diseases that may be present in their schools. Not having a strong immune system is a huge contributor to toxic stress, which can be a detrimental factor in how a child’s brain functions.
By allowing them the resources needed to maintain a more healthy lifestyle, children will grow to be strong, successful members of our community. Overall, food insecurity in children is a fixable issue.
Hungry Souls provides an opportunity for food-insecure children in the greater Austin area to have the nutrition necessary to succeed, thrive and break the cycle of poverty. We envision an Austin where all children are well fed and have enhanced educational opportunities.
If you want to see more kids in the greater Austin area who thrive in school and are well-fed, ask Hungry Souls how you can get involved!