Childhood hunger policies should target neighborhoods, not families

Mar 22, 2012

Policies addressing childhood hunger should target neighborhoods, not individual families, according to new research from Rice University.

Sociologists found that children living in neighborhoods with higher and in those with high foreign-born populations and non-English speakers are more likely to experience hunger.

"Policymakers should be thinking about targeting whole communities, instead of what is done now, which is offering public aid programs for individual families," said Rice sociology professor Justin Denney. "Public aid works on a limited basis, reaching approximately 70 percent of eligible individuals. But unfortunately, the remaining 30 percent are unaccounted for."

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Research on Children, was co-authored by Denney and sociology professor Rachel Tobert Kimbro, co-founders of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research's Urban Health Program at Rice, and postbaccalaureate fellow Sarita Panchang. They used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative dataset of more than 20,000 in 1998-1999, to examine individual, family and of children who are or are not affected by hunger. In the dataset, the children were clustered according to schools and neighborhoods.

Kimbro said that many of these children facing hunger have foreign-born parents fearful of applying for aid, despite their children's eligibility as citizens of the U.S., or parents ashamed of applying for public aid. By changing the focus of these policies away from the individual and on to the community, she said, parents might take advantage of community food programs.

"If we have policies targeted at neighborhoods rather than individuals, no one is excluded," she said.

The authors hope their findings will influence future policies addressing issues of childhood hunger.

"Families are critical for , but communities and neighborhoods have significant impacts as well, as this study clearly demonstrates," Kimbro said.

Explore further: Researchers urge early help for kindergarten students with low self-regulation

More information: Study: Individual, Family, and Neighborhood Characteristics and Children's Food Insecurity: digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu… ntext=childrenatrisk

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Examining motherly fears

Oct 03, 2011

Neighborhood poverty is likely to make a mother more fearful about letting her children play outdoors, according to a new study by sociologists at Rice University and Stanford University.

Children in public housing play outdoors more

Feb 17, 2011

Young children living in urban public housing spend more time playing outdoors than other urban children, according to researchers at Rice University, Columbia University and Princeton University.

Recommended for you

World population likely to peak by 2070

Oct 23, 2014

World population will likely peak at around 9.4 billion around 2070 and then decline to around 9 billion by 2100, according to new population projections from IIASA researchers, published in a new book, World Population and ...

Bullying in schools is still prevalent, national report says

Oct 23, 2014

Despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report by researchers ...

Study examines effects of credentialing, personalization

Oct 23, 2014

Chris Gamrat, a doctoral student in learning, design and technology, recently had his study—completed alongside Heather Zimmerman, associate professor of education; Jaclyn Dudek, a doctoral student studying learning, design ...

Data indicate there is no immigration crisis

Oct 22, 2014

Is there an "immigration crisis" on the U.S.-Mexico border? Not according to an examination of historical immigration data, according to a new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

User comments : 0