'Unprecedented in modern times': 1 in 5 American children facing food insecurity due to Coronavirus

In households with children below 18 years of age, food insecurity has increased by 130 percent since 2018, according to a Brookings Institute study

Novel coronavirus has infected more than 1.2 million people in the United States, killing 74,809 of them. Lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, brought economic activity to a freezing halt. Due to scarce economic activities, millions of Americans have been laid off.

In the USA, the country that boasts of being the world's lone superpower, a fifth of its children are facing food insecurity, according to a study conducted by Brookings Institute.

US households facing food insecurity

Families of multiple children opt for healthy food patterns. Pixabay

A fifth of American children isn't getting enough to eat, since the outbreak of novel coronavirus. A survey by the Brookings Institute found that 17.4 percent of mothers with children aged 12 reported that their offspring were not eating enough due to lack of money.

"It is clear that young children are experiencing food insecurity to an extent unprecedented in modern times", said lead researcher Lauren Bauer. "Food insecurity in households with children under 18 has increased by about 130 percent from 2018 to today", she added. According to the survey, food insecurity in the country is worse than it was during the 2008 financial crisis.

What is the reason behind the 'unprecedented' food insecurity in the US?

About 30 million Americans have lost their jobs since the coronavirus outbreak. Unemployment levels are at the highest, since the Great Depression of 1929. To cope with the financial burden, households are minimizing their portion sizes, while children are being forced to skip meals, according to Bauer. Disrupted school meals programme, families not collecting meals from distribution sites and older siblings competing for limited supplies at home, are some other factors according to her, AFP reported.

Food insecurity around the world

According to a United Nations report released last month, economic fallout affected by COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial hardships for millions of households. As a result, malnutrition is expected to increase by a huge amount, as 368.5 million children across 143 countries who normally rely on school meals for a reliable source of daily nutrition would now look to other sources. The situation is particularly dire for refugees, internally displaced people [IDPs] and those living in conflict zones.

As many as 265 million people could be pushed to starvation by the end of the year, the chief economist at the UN's food agency said last month. Reduced earnings and disruption of supply chains are both responsible for the impending crisis.

Related topics : Coronavirus