"When someone is not confident in when their next meal is coming or where it’s coming from, nutritional quality is not a priority."
Maria Elena Hallion, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Exercise Science and Health Promotion, Cabrini College
Living with food insecurity can have a number of lifelong health effects that range from developmental delays to physical and mental health concerns. School meal programs that provide children with breakfast and/or lunch have helped students in need of assistance, but childhood hunger can increase during the summer months because many school food programs shut down when school is not in session. Buying food on a tight budget often results in families purchasing foods that are higher in calories, fats or sugars rather than foods that are higher in nutrients but which cost more. This is part of the attempt to stretch the food that they are able to buy to the end of the month. Empty calorie intake can effect physical health and lead to problems like obesity. In addition to physical health effects, the stigma of needing assistance or being food insecure can negatively affect a person’s own self-image and mental well-being.
Food insecurity provokes multiple issues that could damage an individual's personal health. From physical challenges to mental stimulations, there are several obstacles that need to be overcome.
Infant and Childhood Nutrition
Children are affected by food insecurity in America just as much as the average adult. Since these young people are still in development phases however, their lack of nutrition ranging from the womb to eighth grade graduation can have severe impacts on their physical and mental advancement.