It has always been known that hunger has negative effects on the body and mind, however, a recent study has been able to pinpoint the effects hunger has on a child. The study discovered that those families with severe child hunger issues had a higher chance of chronic illnesses. The study also discovered that children who are hungry are more likely to experience anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Previous research has found children who frequently experience hunger issues to have more acute symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches; however, more current research has found it to affect the physical wellbeing more over a period of time. This chronic illness, that many children who frequently experience hunger encounter, is very difficult to pinpoint the cause of. It has been thought that it could be the result of psychological health over time, but the research is inconclusive.
This anxiety and depression that children who experience severe child hunger may encounter can be attested to the fact that children may never know when meal or shelter will come next, so they panic and encounter this anxiety. It could also be attested the mother experiencing anxiety and depression and thus influencing the children as well.
When a child is in school and experiencing homelessness, it can be a lot to deal with, both physically and psychologically. A child who is homeless would be concerned of their next meal and next place to stay. This child may also be concerned of their wellbeing if they frequently are becoming ill. Not to mention the anxiety depression, or other multitude of psychological factors that could be at play. These factors would cause a decrease in academic functioning, poorer attendance rates, and repeated grades.
With many environmental and social factors already at play in any normal student’s life, these additional factors would make any easy task in school seem much more difficult. It is almost assumed that children who experience homelessness would encounter moderate to severe child hunger, therefore leading them to encounter these difficult barriers to education. It is important that these children are not forgotten or “swept under the rug” because they deserve not only to have a right to education, but to not be faced with these negative effects of hunger as well.