In South Dakota, 1 in 5 children live in food insecure homes. The effects of childhood hunger are numerous and can last a lifetime. Physical issues associated with hunger include headaches, stomach aches, and increased susceptibility to illness.
The problems caused by hunger go so much farther than that however. When children are hungry, they cannot concentrate in school, meaning they fall behind their peers and are not able to achieve up to their potential. Research also shows that children dealing with food insecurity are more likely to have mental health issues such as depression, feeling isolated, or not being able to connect with their peers.
As children grow into their teen years, issues surrounding food insecurity and hunger increase. In desperate cases, teens turn to theft, drug dealing, and even prostitution to provide food not just for themselves, but for their families as well.
In short, hunger robs children of a healthy, fun childhood. Instead of learning in school, making friends, and growing into healthy adults, children dealing with hunger fall behind and are forced to face issues too grown up for them.
Feeding South Dakota fights every day to end childhood hunger in our state. Learn more about our Childhood Hunger Programs!