August 11th, 2011
Hunger impacts children’s ability to concentrate, learn in school
Nearly one-third, or 32 percent, of households with children in Alabama reported not having enough money to buy food that they or their family needed at some point during the prior twelve months, according to a new report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), Food Hardship in America 2010: Households with and without Children.
This report provides data on food hardship – the inability to afford enough food. During 2009-10:
- 32 percent of Alabama households with children said they were unable to afford enough food, the second highest among the 50 states.
- The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) households with children had a food hardship rate of 23.4 percent in 2010, the 10th highest rate among the nation’s 100 largest MSAs.
- In the 7th Congressional District, 45.0 percent of households with children reported food hardship, the highest in the state and the 3rd highest in the nation.
- In the 1st Congressional District, 34.8 percent of households with children reported food hardship, the 2nd highest in the state and the 19th highest in the nation.
- In the 2nd Congressional District, 33.1 percent of households with children reported food hardship, 3rd highest in the state and the 32nd highest in the nation.
“When children don’t have enough to eat, they have a harder time concentrating and performing well in school,” said Kristina Scott, Executive Director of the Alabama Poverty Project. “Research indicates that for young children, even mild undernutrition negatively impacts their behavior, their school performance, and their overall cognitive development.”
The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Specific to this analysis, people were asked, “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” The data gathered by Gallup were analyzed by FRAC.
“Hunger is not always visible, and thus people may be skeptical that it exists in their communities. This report bears witness to the fact that Alabamians struggle to feed their families,” said Scott.
The full report is available at www.frac.org