Sunday, November 28, 2004

Dumb Ways to Save Money

Not feeding our kids.

Nationally, 3.3 percent of households report experiencing physical hunger during a year; in Oregon, it's 5 percent. For food insecurity -- basically not always knowing where your next meal is coming from, or when -- the national rate is 10.8 percent, while Oregon soars above at 13.7 percent.

That's thousands of Oregon kids who are regularly hungry, and something more than 100,000 who qualify as food-insecure. Which, as Dr. Anne Terry, an Oregon Health & Science University researcher, noted Friday, makes them more likely to be sent to a school psychologist and develop cognitive problems, especially if they're undernourished in their first three years, when the brain reaches 80 percent to 90 percent of its adult size.

And even trying to work with the child and the family, says Terry, you can't always see the problem: "Families are very reluctant to admit that they can't feed their children the way they'd like to feed them."

You'd think a state would be, too.

By Brown's figuring, winning a national battle on hunger -- getting it back to being as controlled and rare as it was in the 1970s -- wouldn't be that big an effort. It would take about $10 billion a year in new money and hardly any new bureaucracy, just an expansion of old programs such as food stamps and the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program.

via Bohemian Mama


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