Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
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Combat Indifference About Nutrition

By Janet Williams on April 24, 2009
© Greenville News

I have witnessed first-hand the "perils of indifference" described by Drs. Sean O'Rourke and Ron Manuto in their recent column. As a registered dietitian I see children with a variety of nutrition-related problems. One student in the Greenville County Schools was referred to me for "Failure to Thrive" —technical jargon describing children whose weight or rate of weight gain is significantly below that of other children of similar age and gender. This child’s abnormal thinness was the result of hunger and poverty. He gained weight and grew well after I was able to provide supplemental nutrition through his school and at home.

In these trying financial times, more and more children are eligible for vital safety net programs. The Greenville County School District has received at least 4,000 additional applications for the free and reduced cost breakfast and lunch programs since January of this school year. Ordinarily, only a handful of applications are received second semester. Nationally, 11.7 million children live in households where people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet. That means one in ten households in the U.S. are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger.

 

This year Congress will reauthorize nutrition programs like the ones that are giving children a chance to thrive—school breakfast and lunch programs, summer food programs and WIC for mothers and infants. Ordinary citizens can combat indifference by urging Rep. Bob Inglis and Sens. Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham to ensure there’s enough funding and access to these programs.

 

 

 

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