Malnutrition and Minority Older Adults: A Health Equity Issue

 

April is National Minority Health Month. The U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services labels it
as a “time to raise awareness on issues impacting health disparities and health equity in America.”
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 

 

Food insecurity is not a simple concept – it’s hard to pinpoint if another facet of a person’s life is a cause of food insecurity or a result of it. But one thing most researchers and advocates agree on is that equity – in regards to things like income distribution, access to nutritious food, access to health and social services and access to education – plays a big part in how healthy a person is, mentally and physically.

April is National Minority Health Month and this year, the theme of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiative is “Bridging Health Equity Across Communities.” This article by the Huffington Post focuses on why health equity is important and how inequity affects our older minority populations, once again demonstrating that while hunger and all of the underlying issues associated with it are not selective – they affect all ages – the problem continues to disproportionately affect people of color.

 

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Hunger and their health: New study shows how food insecurity affects children of all ages

Chopped fresh carrots and broccoli

When I was a reporter at the Amarillo Globe-News, I had a few opportunities to interview Dyron Howell, the founder of Snack Pak 4 Kids. The program provides weekend bags of food to school children throughout the Texas Panhandle who may otherwise go without eating during the days they’re away from school.

One of the things I always remember from our conversations is the way hunger affects a child’s physical and mental health, and his or her ability to concentrate and learn. For a child who is chronically hungry, hunger becomes the leading force and cause of all he or she does.

Science Daily gives a decent breakdown of the research completed by the Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, where researchers studied the associations between food insecurity and how children may adversely develop when it comes to academic performance, social behaviors and mental health.

The information shows that hunger doesn’t just affect a child’s stomach – it spills over into all aspects of a child’s life.