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."
The problem is the parent(s).
But then, we wouldn't want to call these incompotent nincompoops to task for their criminal neglect of their own children, would we? So it becomes "our" fault for not shoveling enough freebies their way!
Probably the same people who run the "ketchup soup" public service radio commercial I hear all the time.
These "nincompoops" do not need the criminal prosecution. They need some basic compulsory training - what to buy, where to buy, how to cook or prepare, how to eat.
Someone explain the logic to me.
There's no excuse for children being hungry in America.
Where I live, we have a rather generous welfare system, even with attempts at welfare reform (states vary as to how much or how little you can get in public assistance). I don't know what it is now, but some years ago when a friend of mine fell on hard times and was considering applying for food stamps, she was told she could qualify if her income was $20,000. That's generous.
But...in supermarkets, I have watched the ones with food stamps (or in my state, the recipients now get what looks like a credit card) -- most of those I have observed buy junk food with their state assistance.
When I watch the kids going to school in the morning, they all carry chips and soda. The school district gives them breakfast and lunch (thanks to our tax dollars), but this is what the kids eat -- junk. I think it was Rush Limbaugh who said not long ago that huge amounts of school lunch food is discarded. I don't remember the dollar amount, but it was in the millions per year.
So if these children are malnourished, then it's their fault and that of the parents'.
The USDA Food Stamp program has increased the income standard every year so that more people can be eligible for Food Stamps thanks to the Farm Bill. With programs like WIC and Foodstamps I really have to look at the problem being more of a parental responsibility issue than that of one Republican from Texas.
The article says she is a "Pediatrician". She is not.
Dr. Black is a pediatric psychologist and completed her training at Emory University and the Neuropsychiatric Institute of UCLA. She has been the president of the Society of Pediatric Psychology and the Division of Children, Youth, and Family Services of the American Psychological Association.
They are malnourished BECAUSE OF "a greater prevalence of hunger"???? Anyone who takes a statement like this seriously doesn't speak English as a first language.
-Someone needs to post tha B.S. meter alert-
I quote: In some areas, green vegetables and fruit are impossible to buy -- even in a can, because there may be no supermarket.
Oh, puh-leez. And this happens how often? That's some serious grasping.
"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."
I have experienced hunger every year since June 1950. As a matter of fact, I'm experiencing it right now. Be right back .... I have to have a bowl of cereal.
She's probably too busy campaigning for gay adoptions to spend much time researching the cost of pork and beans.
Who wrote this nonsense?
Probably just parroting something the reporter heard, because it fits the reporter's mental template.
There are some pretty darn poor neighborhoods near where I work in downtown Atlanta. Every one of them has little corner groceries or bodegas, and often on Friday they'll have fresh fruits and veggies displayed on the sidewalk.
The story's just trying to counter in advance the argument of parental incapacity. Which is the real problem here.
What are the names of those three pediatricians?
"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. "
Here is how we solve this problem. Every planned parenthood center gets shut down and reopened as an "infant child protection center" with the same funding. And we will let faith based cahrities also contribute and make it a 501c3 so anyone can contribute and write off the payment.
"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."
So which is it AFP? Are kids starving now before the evil tax cuts or are they going to starve even more after the tax cuts? So if they are starving now, would that not suggest the welfare programs they are now on are not working?
It's fun to catch the press contradicting themselves. Especially a few paragraphs into a story.
Food stamps shouldn't be redeemable for anything except basic foods and staples - classes for training should be the province of volunteers and hand-wringing do-good agencies.
I will agree that protective custody is a last resort, but I see a LOT of need for last resort action. If state wards grow up to be criminals, what's the difference? Many would have had the same fate with lesser options in their mother's care anyway.
Funny, why is all the malnutrition coming from Blue States with Democrat politicians who run these areas? I thought they were the ones leading the war on poverty.
Apparently they aren't doing a good job.