The effects of hunger on children’s health

05/Aug/19 / 20:19

In the state of Illinois, nearly half a million children don’t know where their next meal is coming from – including more than 130,000 children living in Northern Illinois.(1)
Research shows that food insecurity has negative health consequences for individuals of any age, and can lead to Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. But food insecurity is especially devastating for children, as kids who are at risk of hunger are not only at an increased risk for chronic diseases, but are also more likely to struggle in school.(2)
Distracted by a growling stomach, kids are less likely to focus on their classes, and may suffer from irritability, low self-esteem, and other behavior issues at school.(3) They may also be more likely to miss school due to illness, experience developmental impairments, have lower math and sciences scores, and – in some cases – even need to repeat a grade.(4)
Although the signs that a child is struggling with hunger can often be difficult to spot, it’s so important to ensure that every child has the healthy, nutritious food they need to learn, grow, and focus on school.
At Northern Illinois Food Bank, we know there is enough food to provide every meal, every day to every neighbor – especially our children. With your help, we can make sure every child in Northern Illinois starts the school year with a full belly.

How You Can Help:


  • Volunteer at one of our Centers in Geneva, Rockford or Park City sorting and packing food
  • Donate to help us solve hunger in your community – every $1 donated helps provide $8 of groceries.



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(1)Feeding America Research. “Map the Meal Gap – Child Food Insecurity.” Tableau Public, 2018.

(2)“Importance of Nutrition on Health in America.” Feeding America, 2018.

(3)Waite, Tori. “3 Devastating Effects of Hunger on the Body.” Hunger Blog, Feeding America, 6 Feb. 2019.

(4)Weber, Allison. “Help Kids Facing Hunger This School Year.” Hunger Blog, Feeding America, 6 Oct. 2017.