More than 17 million children live in households that sometimes skip meals in order to make ends meet. One third of U.S. children are obese or on the road to becoming so. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called on lawmakers to appropriate one billion dollars a year more into programs aimed at ending the twin scourges of childhood obesity and lack of nutrition. One of those programs is the Child Nutrition Bill, on the agenda for re-authorization this year.
Speaking at the launch of a report on child hunger at the Center for American Progress, Vilsack commented that childhood hunger and obesity should be made national priorities. “Not only is it morally wrong for so many children to be going hungry in the world’s richest nation, but hunger and obesity also impact the economy, U.S. competitiveness and even national security,” Vilsack remarked.”Research shows that youngsters who are either obese or who are hungry simply do not learn as well as they ought to. In addition, youngsters who are obese take chronic disease into adulthood which substantially reduces their productivity as individuals and causes our health care costs to escalate.”
In addition, with so many American children obese, military leaders have voiced concerns that not enough youngsters are fit to serve in the armed forces, which could impact U.S. national security.
The report says that child hunger costs the U.S. economy at least 28 billion dollars per year “because poorly nourished children perform less well in school and require far more long-term health care spending.”
(via: Yahoo News)