Wednesday, 19 August 2015 00:00

The Toll on Children Living in Poverty

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Dr. Michael Omidi discusses the horrors faced by children living in poverty.

Poverty takes a heavy toll on those living in it. It is especially cruel on children. Children who live in poverty are at risk both physically and mentally. Today, we'll examine some of the ways poverty hurts children and why it’s so important that we reduce this global atrocity.

Poverty Impairs Their Education

In America, many children who live in poverty are lucky enough to attend schools. This isn't the case for all children throughout the world. Many children are denied an education because they are forced at an early age to work to help support their families.

That said, in America, children living in poverty are disadvantaged when it comes to academic performance. Poverty has been linked to lower gray matter in children. This causes issues with cognitive functions and concentration. This can limit their opportunities later in life.

Poverty Impairs Their Health

Health is another factor that is affected when it comes to living in poverty for children. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, many children didn't have access to health care. Still many children living in poverty are prone to health conditions like asthma and child obesity, among others.

Poverty Leads to Crime

In some cases, children living in poverty can turn to a life of crime. This can range from gang affiliation to sex trafficking. This has been reported in Myanmar where underage girls are driven to sex work.

A new study even places blame on most teenage crime because of teenage poverty. Examining 54,094 homicides, were in large done in high poverty populations. Most of the victimization occurred towards 19 year old people, and then declining from there.

As you can see, poverty has a sweeping degree of implications on the lives of children and teens. It impacts their health, education and safety. All of these can significantly stunt their growth as human beings later in life. It can lead to lower paying jobs, criminal records and death. Poverty needs to be addressed.

Without seeing results, poverty will most likely be cyclical. Those who are born into poverty are more likely to be confined to poverty for their adult life. By creating reforms in policy as well as enhanced efforts with outreach, this can be significantly reduced. Get involved and help stop poverty.

Yours in health,

Michael Omidi

Dr. Michael Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty, a non-profit that works to reduce poverty in America and around the globe.

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