Dr. Michael Omidi discusses new research that highlights the true damage poverty causes a child's brain.
Poverty has been widely associated with lower academic performance for children. The longer a child lives in poverty, often the more they fall behind with an academic deficit. A study published on Monday by JAMA Pediatrics wanted to see if there was a correlation between poverty and lower academic performance because of atypical patterns of structural brain development. The results are startling.
The researchers studied magnetic resonance imaging scans of developing children and adolescents age 4 to 22 years of age. In total, they looked at 829 images. These tests included all socioeconomic data and neuroimaging data. Collection of the data occurred from 2001 to 2007. Recruiting was held at 6 data sites across the U.S. and participants were assessed for any factors that may adversely impact brain development. One quarter of the sample reported to be living 200% under the federal poverty line.
The researchers found that poverty was tied to structural differences in several areas of the brain that account for academic performance. For some, the difference in gray matter in the brain was a difference of 8 to 10%. These differences accounted for the children's academic difficulties.
The researchers concluded that the effect of poverty on learning was mediated by the differences in the structures of the children's brains. They suggested for those living 150% below the federal poverty line, extra resources should be targeted during early childhood to help remediate the early childhood environment. For a family of four, the federal poverty line is earning an income below $24,000.
This research shows that those living in poverty have large gaps to overcome that are structural in the brain. If they aren't given the proper resources, they will most likely have a difficulty advancing academically and into a higher earning career later in life. These children must be targeted to ensure they get additional resources need to advance in life. If not, poverty will continue to be perpetual in nature, and remain an ongoing problem.
Yours in health,
Dr. Michael Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty, a nonprofit that advocates to change poverty in America and around the world.
Julian Omidi discusses a report by UNICEF which shows millions of children are being left behind in poverty.
Tuesday, UNICEF released a report showing the failing global efforts to help children living in poverty. These results should be alarming to anyone who cares about the impact of global poverty and the well-being of children. Today, let’s look at the data from the report and how it children are being left behind. According to the report, the world's poorest children are twice as likely to die prior to their fifth birthday. What's worse is the rate at which children are dying, within a few days of their birth. These statistics should be startling.
Now, there has been some progress on the poverty front. From 1990 to today, poverty has reduced from 1.9 billion to 1 billion. Of these, 47% of people living in poverty are under the age of 18. Meaning, nearly half of those living in poverty today are children.
The severity of the quality of care is heavily dependent on the country. In India, nearly 60% of people living in poverty live on less than $2.00 a day! That's the price of a small cup of coffee in America. The agency warns that by 2030, nearly 68 million children under the age of five could die. What's more, 119 will be malnourished. This doesn't even account for disease caused by poor living conditions.
This report makes it clear that children are at jeopardy. Maternal mortality rates are down by 45% showing that mothers are less likely to die, but their children are still at risk. More needs to be done on a global level in order to help these children in need.
You can help by working with charitable organizations that help children in need. No More Poverty works to educate people about the global poverty problem while working with other charitable organizations that help people in poverty. Only through action can the problem be solved.
Julian Omidi is the co-founder of No More Poverty, a nonprofit that works to stop poverty throughout the world.