Billions needed to end US child hunger, obesity

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday urged Congress to plow billions more dollars into programs to end the twin scourges of child obesity and hunger, which impact children, the economy and national security.

With some 17 million children living in households that have to sometimes skip meals to make ends meet, and with a third of US children obese or on the road to becoming so, Vilsack called on lawmakers to "appropriate one billion dollars a year more into programs" aimed at ending the two crises.

President Barack Obama in his budget proposal for 2011 set aside an additional one billion dollars a year over 10 years for the child nutrition bill, which Congress is set to re-authorize this year.

Childhood hunger and obesity should be made national priorities, said Vilsack, speaking at the launch of a report on child hunger at the Center for American Progress.

Not only was it morally wrong for so many children to be going hungry in the world's richest nation, but hunger and obesity also impact the economy, US competitivity and even national security, Vilsack argued.

"Research shows that youngsters who are either obese or who are hungry simply do not learn as well as they ought to," said Vilsack.

"Youngsters who are obese take chronic disease into adulthood which substantially reduces their productivity as individuals and cauises our health care costs to escalate," he said.

And with so many American children obese, military leaders have voiced concerns that not enough youngsters are fit to serve in the army, marine, navy and air force, which could impact US national security, he said.

The report says that child hunger costs the US economy at least 28 billion dollars per year "because poorly nourished children perform less well in school and require far more long-term health care spending.

"Further, food insufficiency severely hampers children’s emotional, intellectual, and physical development, and it strongly hinders the upward mobility of their parents," it says.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Director - Product Management

    £75000 - £85000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the largest and fastes...

    Recruitment Genius: HGV Fitter - Technician

    £16 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity for someone ...

    Recruitment Genius: Automotive Service Advisor - Franchised Main Dealer

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful, family owned m...

    Ashdown Group: Account Payable Assistant - SW London

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Account Payable Assistant - SW Londo...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence