Report: 6.8 Million American Teens Struggle with Hunger, Impacting their Health and Academic Achievement
Congressman Jim McGovern spoke on the House Floor recently to address teen hunger as part of his continued push to raise awareness during Hunger Action Month.
Congressman McGovern praised two new reports released by the Urban Institute which highlight the millions of teenagers who face hunger and the challenges that they and their families confront every day.
The research in the Urban Institute reports shows that the food budget is one of the first things pared down when times get tough for a family.
Under such conditions, these households can become food insecure — that is, they struggle to acquire enough affordable, nutritious food to healthily feed the whole family.
Using Current Population Survey data, food insecurity expert Craig Gundersen recently estimated that 6.8 million young people ages 10 to 17 struggle to have enough to eat, including 2.9 million who have very low food security.
The ramifications of food insecurity are innumerable, but looking specifically at teenagers, the report notes that teenagers are at a critical stage of their development and that food insecurity undermines their physical and emotional growth, stamina, academic achievement and job performance.
Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Speech on Teen Hunger:
“ … I rise to speak about the widespread problem of hunger among teenagers.
“While our nation’s recovery is progressing, seven million teens remain food insecure, and we know they often face additional hardships.
“Today, the Urban Institute is briefing Members of Congress and their staff on two new reports that highlight these circumstances and explore how teens cope with hunger.
“Among a number of troubling conclusions, the report finds that teens fear the stigma of being hungry and often refuse to accept food or assistance. They skip meals and sometimes turn to dangerous behaviors just so their parents or siblings can eat. They often feel the need to bear the responsibility for feeding their families.
“Teenagers deserve to have a normal childhood. They should be focused on school and developing their passions – not worrying about where their next meal is coming from.
“I encourage all of my colleagues to read these reports and join me in working to end hunger now.”
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