The Effects Of Poverty On Children's Health

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Children are the poorest segment of society. 22 percent of U.S. children live below the federal poverty level, a prevalence that has persisted since the 1970s. The effects of poverty on children’s health and well-being are well-documented. Poor children have increased infant mortality. They also have more frequent and severe chronic diseases such as asthma; poorer nutrition and growth; less access to quality health care; lower immunization rates; and increased obesity and its complications.
There’s a long list of reasons why poor Americans tend to be in poorer health than the better to do. For instance, low-income people don’t usually live near hospitals and primary care doctors. Also, many can’t afford expensive treatments, often because
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Poverty also cuts off vital resources to the poor and places them in an environment of ongoing stress and that has long-lasting effects on Americans’ general wellness that can be difficult to reverse. There’s lots of ways that poverty negatively affects Americans’ health over the long term. Poverty prevents Americans from buying healthy food. This is one of the biggest contributors to poor health in low-income communities. Many of the poor, including those who rely on food stamps, have to patronize bodegas or mini-marts that sell salty snacks and the kinds of processed foods that cause hypertension, obesity, and diabetes in lieu of fresh produce. According to an Economic Research Service (ERS) report for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 11.5 million Americans are both poor and live in low-income areas over a mile away from a supermarket that offers healthier food variety. On average, food stamp beneficiaries live about 1.8 miles away from a grocery store. Without a vehicle or public transportation to help these Americans get to the market and carry their groceries back home, many go for high-calorie and unhealthy food instead. So it isn’t surprising that regions where poor people can’t get to supermarkets also have higher recorded rates of obesity and diabetes. These are very interesting …show more content…
Research shows that smokers tend to be lower-income and less educated Americans. But a new study from Duke Medicine suggests that isn’t a coincidence, and that those who grow up in poverty may actually be predisposed to picking up the unhealthy habit. That’s a consequence of economic stresses that inhibit Americans’ ability to self-regulate healthy behaviors. “Poverty during childhood not only appears to affect child development, but can have lasting effects on the types of health choices made during adolescence and early adulthood, especially as it relates to cigarette smoking,” wrote lead author Dr. Bernard Fuemmeler, an associate professor in Community and Family Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. “Economic strains may shape an individual’s capacity for self-control by diminishing opportunities for self-regulation, or affecting important brain structures.” The poor live in regions with worse air quality. The American Lung Association reports that low-income and minority Americans live in areas with worse air quality. There isn’t a single