University of Texas at Dallas researchers have determined that individuals who experienced frequent childhood hunger had a risk of more than double to exhibit violent or impulsive behavior as a teen and adult. There has been a lot of research on childhood hunger in the past and this problem has been linked with numerous negative outcomes including poor physical and emotional growth, poor school performance, and other problems. This is one of the very first studies which has established that there is a correlation between interpersonal violence, low level of self control, and frequent hunger in childhood though.
School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences associate dean for graduate programs and Ashbel Smith Professor of Criminology Dr. Alex Piquero explained the study results on childhood hunger, violence and impulsivity. “Good nutrition is not only critical for academic success, but now we’re showing that it links to behavioral patterns. When kids start to fail in school, they start to fail in other domains of life. At the very least, we need to get children the nutritional food they need. It’s not a very difficult problem to address, and we can envision lots of gains.”
Statistics show that over 15 million children in the USA face some type of food insecurity, and the findings could be used to address a lack of healthy food resources for those who live in urban food deserts where a lack of grocery stores mean very limited food options. The rising rate of violence across many American cities shows that something must be done, and the study shows that a step in the right direction is ensuring that all children have adequate and highly nutritious food available.