Skip to comments.More babies, young kids going hungry in US (Blame Dubya's proposed cuts in welfare aid)
Posted on 06/12/2005 5:00:16 AM PDT by Libloather
More babies, young kids going hungry in US
Sat Jun 11, 11:00 PM ET
An American butcher. Increasing numbers of young American children are showing signs of serious malnourishment, fueled by a greater prevalence of hunger in the United States, while, paradoxically, two-thirds of the US population is either overweight or obese(AFP/File/Stan Honda)
BALTIMORE, United States (AFP) - Increasing numbers of young American children are showing signs of serious malnourishment, fueled by a greater prevalence of hunger in the United States, while, paradoxically, two-thirds of the US population is either overweight or obese.
In 2003, 11.2 percent of families in the United States experienced hunger, compared with 10.1 percent in 1999, according to most recent official figures, released on National Hunger Awareness Day held this year on Tuesday, June 7.
Some pediatricians worry that cuts in welfare aid proposed in President George W. Bush's 2006 budget will only exacerbate the situation. By contrast Bush plans to keep tax cuts for more affluent sectors of the population, they note.
In the working class port city of Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Maureen Black, a pediatrician, sees numbers of underweight babies in her clinic specialized in infant malnutrition located in one of the poorer areas.
"In the first year of life, children triple their birth weight," said Black, "and if children do not have enough to eat during those very early very times, you first see that their weight will falter and then their height will falter."
"If their height falters enough and they experience stunting under age two, they are then at risk for academic and behaviour problems" at school, said Black.
Dr. Deborah Frank, a professor of pediatrics at Boston University's School of Medicine, who also runs a specialised clinic for malnourished babies, has similar concerns.
"We are seeing more and more very young babies under a year of age which is a particular concern because they are most likely to die of under nutrition, and also their brains are growing very very rapidly," said Frank, in a telephone interview.
"A baby's brain increases 2.5 times in size in the first year of life," she says, adding that if the baby fails to get the nutritional building blocks he or she needs for the brain to develop, a child can have lifelong difficulties in behaviour and learning.
But infant-child protection centers do not exist in the United States, unlike it other countries, such as France, which makes children below the age of three or four years old somewhat invisible to authorities, laments Frank. "They don't come to my clinic until they are already quite underweight.
"Recently I have been alarmed because we are getting more children who are so ill that they go to hospital rather than they come to the clinic first" a situation which, in 20 years of practising medicine, Frank had seen reverse.
Some children in the United States occasionally look like the malnourished children we see in some parts of Africa, however, welfare programs targeting society's poorest ensures that problem is generally avoided, the pediatricians say.
Paradoxically, malnutrition is not always due to lack of food -- rather to the quality of the food being consumed.
"People often ask me how many children go to bed hungry. The answer is the parents work very hard so they don't go to bed feeling hungry. The parents try to fill the baby up with french fries and soda pop," said Frank.
In some areas, green vegetables and fruit are impossible to buy -- even in a can, because there may be no supermarket. Moreover, such items are costly.
"What happens in America is -- what seems bizarre -- that some of the recommendations that we give to families to prevent underweight of children are the same as we give to prevent overweight," said Black. "We recommend families not to give their children junk food."
In some families, eating junk food will mean one child is obese while the other is underweight, said Black. "The first will eat junk food and nothing else, the second will eat junk food and everything else."
Because illegal aliens eat the food that Americans won't eat. You walked right into that one.
Breastfeeding=free. Idealistic but true.
If it isn't starving children it is homeless people whenever a Republican is in the white house. Cry me a river! (Sarcasm)
But we live here anyway, because the crack prices are low.
no child in America goes hungry except by parental neglect.
The poorer neighborhoods of Baltimore are filled with people who have the same morality and social consciousness as rabbits. Many many children, and the ones that die they forget about.
Sorry AFP is not Arab it is anti-American French.
We used to rent to some folks on welfare. Every Friday they'd throw a massive beer guzzler party with they're welfare money. Then they'd complain at the end of the month they had no rent money and were poor.
Is this a real cut in spending on welfare, or just a reduction
in the increase?
If it weren't for hunger we'd never know when it was time to eat.
Funny how a "proposed" cut can cause anything, any more than a "proposed" increase can alleviate anything.
All but the absolute poorest in America have safe water, food every day, electricity, and televisions. Their kids can go to school, and if they go to a hospital they have to be treated for emergencies.
I spent a week in Burma last summer and can tell you that only the rich there have all of these things. We have poor people in the US, but what we think of as poor is a far cry from what the rest of the world thinks.
WHOSE "official figures"?? There are so many half-truths and mis-statements in this article that it's just a joke. My eighth grade English composition teacher would have slapped me for writing something as weak in argument and citation as this article is. It looks like whoever sponsors National Hunger Awareness Day sent this article to the reporter who then just claimed it as his own.
One final point, then I'll turn off the rant flag. Have you ever looked at the nutritional labels on "junk food"? Much of it contains a fair portion of nutrients, including protein, fiber, and vitamins. Most "junk food" snack foods are more expensive than nutritious foods, which leads one to the realization that anyone buying "junk food" isn't doing so because of money, but because of poor choices. And poor choices (unmarried sex, dropping out of school, taking drugs / alcohol, committing crimes) are the number 1 cause of poverty.
Walter Williams - How not to be poor
Walter hits the nail right on the head. Bravo!
There is another possible case - that parents are very ignorant. If so they need to be forced to attend the nutrition training showing them how they can get healthy and cheap food.
Taking children away should be the LAST resort.