Hunger, Children and Compromised Nutrition

Hunger is a symptom of poverty. Living in poverty means cutting back on non-fixed items in the household budget. Not being able to provide the basic needs means cutting back on “other expenses” such as food and allocating a significant portion of household income to the rent. Thirty Percent (30%) of food bank recipients reported frequent problems eating balanced meals and providing balanced meals for their children. Hunger among children is a critical issue in our community. Hamilton Food Share’s HungerCount 2009 showed that over 4,300 children access food banks every month. Children constitute 37% of all the people who need emergency food support. As stated in Position of Dietitians of Canada, “Mothers sacrifice their own food to protect their children from hunger.” Despite access to a food bank parents stated, one in five children did not eat a balanced meal most days of the week and almost 20% of children using a food bank do not eat breakfast every day. Children need to be ready to learn. Children in food insecure households who are exposed to hunger frequently experience a lack of focus in school and in the long term can experience learning impairments.