Hungry for the holidays. 1/2 of kids in the U.S. will be fed with food stamps

FoodstampsThis holiday, visions of sugar plums won't dance in the heads of nearly half of America's kids. That's because a new report says these kids might not be sitting down to a holiday feast. Or those who are sitting down to a holiday meal, they will be "feasting" on a paltry one.

"49% of all U.S. children will be in a household that uses food stamps at some point during their childhood," says the author of a new study, Mark R. Rank, Ph.D., poverty expert at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. A sign Rank says is a clear indication of poverty and food insecurity. "Two of the most detrimental economic conditions affecting a child's health."

For a family on food stamps, traditional Thanksgiving fare of turkey, bread pudding and pumpkin pie far exceeds their budgets. And not only are these kids missing out on eating like a pilgrim, chances are, they're not eating healthy, either, since Rank says being exposed to these levels of poverty often leads to unhealthy lifestyles.

Rank's study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found:

  • 90% of black children vs. 37% of white children live in a household that uses food stamps.
  • Nearly 1/4 of all American children live in households that use food stamps for five or more years.
  • 91% of children in single parent households vs. 37% of those in married household, are in households receiving food stamps.

"Understanding the degree to which American children are exposed to the risks of poverty and food insecurity is essential for health-care and social-service communities," says Rank. That's because even limited exposure can have detrimental effects on a child's overall health and well-being.

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