United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a report yesterday finding that 49 million people –17 million of which are children, did not have enough food to eat during 2008, an increase of 3.5% from 2007. The report goes on to say that children, especially young children are usually shielded from hunger because their parents find a way to provide enough food but in 2008, over a half of million children under the age of six suffered from the most severe hunger.The
These statistics are startling. . . . and very hard to hear for those of us that care so deeply for our young and vulnerable children. Food plays a vital role in brain function, especially during the early years when nearly 90% of the brain is developed. Hunger causes stress in the brain due to the lack of nutrients it needs. This causes stress hormones to be released resulting in lack of attention, behavior problems, and the brain not functioning at optimal levels.
The nutritional value of the food is also important. Good nutrition can lead to increased serotonin levels in the brain and happier children spending more time playing and learning. Sugary foods or beverages eaten on an empty stomach instead of healthy foods (including enough protein) will result in a crabby and possibly hyperactive child.
With Thanksgiving only a few days away, please think about those families and children who are in need and could use your help. To do its part to feed young brains, braininsights® will be directly donating baby formula, cereal, and food to Feeding America® Eastern Wisconsin. braininsights® will donate additional baby food products with each purchase of braininsights® Activity Packets. You can also donate food to Feeding America® at http://www.feedingamerica.org/