1-I know here in Oregon a free breakfast is given to all children no matter the parents income. If the child falls under the poverty level they can get free or reduced lunch. The school for years ago, installed a backpack program for kids in a very low income family. The packs were filled with food to last the kids through the weekend or on long weekends or breaks. Oregon also has the free lunch program in the summer for all children under the age of 18 Monday through Friday. We do have poverty and homeless, but we do our best to take care of our community members.
2-What I have found in the past to be very frustrating is the fact that I have seen a family of 6 get food stamps with a monthyly balance of just under $800. I don’t even spend close to that amount per month for my family of 4. That is plenty of money to buy very, very healthy! I know that the amount families get depends on family size and income. I have also been in line with people infront of me buying prime rib, lobster, and other expensive items and then pay with food stamps. Those things are healthy, but how is that using the money wisely to last the rest of the month. There might be a problem with parents also just buying convience food just for that fact, they don’t have to send time to prep and then cook the food. I know, there are families out there that use the money responsibly and try to be as healthy as possible. But, with the rise in child obesity, those families might be far and few between.
3-We are hearing more and more about childhood obesity and how it is becoming more prevalent in our society today. School age children are at a critical point health wise in their growth cycle when it comes to the ability to grow excess fat (Lee, 2012). According to Daniel L. Millimet, Rusty Tchernis, and Muna Husain, childhood obesity in school aged children has risen from 4 percent to 18.8 percent in children ages six to eleven (2018, p. 641). It has been found that children in lower income families and minority neighborhoods are more likely to be obese due to less access to larger grocery stores and more fast food restaurants or convenience stores being close by (Lee, 2012). Larger grocery stores are more likely to have higher quality foods and produce and more healthy choices than smaller grocery stores or convenience stores (Lee, 2012). Convenience stores are more likely to carry unhealthy food choices as they more often than not stock foods that will last longer on the shelf and have a lower chance of perishing (Lee, 2012). Smaller grocery stores may carry produce and fresh food but they will likely carry less choices as compared to larger supermarkets (Lee, 2012). The prices in smaller grocery stores or convenience stores will likely be higher and the quality of the food may be poor (Lee, 2012). The majority of Americans spend a large portion of their grocery budget on pre-made foods or take out and these foods have a higher calorie content than foods prepared at home. In addition, children who eat out often, consume 150 calories more per day than children who do not (Lee, 2012). One study showed that where there were more convenience stores within a specific zip code, the average BMI of the teenagers in that area was higher than the BMI of children who had more supermarkets within their zip code (Lee, 2012). Families without cars or access to transportation are more dependent on the local food retailers in their immediate area but when the local retailers are more likely to offer unhealthy choices, this becomes a problem (Lee, 2012). It has also been found that lower income families are more likely to drive to a discount grocery outlet or store instead of their local supermarket because the prices fit their budget better but they in turn get lower quality foods (Lee, 2012). They are more likely to choose generic foods and will buy non-perishable foods in bulk (Lee, 2012). As you can see, there are health disparities associated with low income families and minorities when it comes to nutritional choices and weight. Another study done shows the correlation between childhood obesity and the physical home environment in low income families. Children who have more screen time and who do not get enough sleep are more likely to become obese (Appelhans et.al., 2014) The study stresses the importance of implementing a bed time routine in children, reducing chaos in the home and removing televisions from children’s bedrooms to combat the increased rates of obesity in lower income families (Appelhans, 2014) The study showed a direct correlation with obesity, lack of sleep and increased screen time (Appelhans, 2014)