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Effects of Poverty on Child Development

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According to Trawick-Smith (2009), one of the factors associated with poverty, which limit healthy growth of primary-age children is hunger. Hunger is a signal that the body requires foods. One feels hungry when his/her stomach is empty.  Poor people usually take one meal in a day, which is usually not enough for the body. This makes children to feel prolonged hunger between meal times. Prolonged hunger in children causes stunted growth and underweight. Underweight children become sick very quickly. Malnutrition is also another factor associated with poverty, which limits healthy growth. Malnutrition is lack of essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins in the body (Trawick-Smith, 2009). Malnutrition also causes stunted growth and low body immunity (Hunger and Malnutrition, 2012). For this reason, malnutrition children become sick quickly. Low income is also a poverty factor, which limits healthy growth. Due to low income, poor families are unable to buy enough food to feed their families. This causes the children to suffer from malnutrition and hunger. Birth defects, is yet another poverty factor, which limits healthy growth in children. This is because mothers from poor families do not visit hospitals for their pre-natal care. Since many mothers from poor families are malnutritioned, they give birth to children with defects.

Family and living situation in which primary-age children become more at risk for optimal physical development and health status is one which is characterized by access to one meal a day, usually in the evening. Usually, the meal is not enough because it has to be divided among the family members. In addition, in many cases, the meal is made of only one food component, usually starch. Poor people consume a lot of starch they are easily affordable. This food does not supply the body with the required nutrients for optimal physical development and health status. Since primary-age children are very active, the food they take get used up very quickly, hence are left with no food in their bodies until the next meal session. When this situation become repetitive, their bodies become weak due to loss of weight and they stop developing (stunted growth).

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