Poverty’s Link to Brain Development in Children

Holy Hormones Journal:

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), 16 million children (22% of all children) are living in poverty and the number is increasing. 45% 07.30.15 mccurry25e-1-webof children live in low-income families….

This is not about homeless children – the numbers are due to the huge percentage of families who are barely able to make ends meet in today’s economy and who have incomes below the federal poverty level. Low wages and unstable employment – and no benefits leave families struggling to survive.

Poverty will affect a child’s social, emotional/mental and behavioral state. Impoverished families are not receiving the nutrition from foods they purchase on food stamps. I do not have to tell you that – dear reader… you already know.

This is coupled with the accelerating impacts of chronic disease from which we all are vulnerable to. Obesity and asthma rates have doubled since 1994 – less than 20 years – what will the next 20 year bring? We do know that if autism accelerates at the same rate 1 2 children will be on the spectrum by 2025 – and that is just 10 years away.

Research has now shown that poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s health and well-being. No wonder kids in the US trail others around the world in academics.

We have to step away from analyzing trends and start developing creative ideas on how to help these families. One way is to focus on nutrition.  help these children’s brain’s mature and develop without damage – which will only increase their risk for living in poverty.  For many – the only escape will be human trafficking.

What is truly frightening is that each generation of children who live in poverty will suffer from more chronic illness and mental health issues – a cascading effect as the neuro-endocrine-immune system becomes weaker and weaker.

Many of us are just a few steps away from living in poverty.  We can no longer depend on federal programs. We work on a community level to develop our own sustainable programs.  Teaching nurturing skills to parents in shock and who are struggling and who are living with PTSD and other issues due to their circumstances is not going to be enough.

We need to heal – all of us – not just the 1% who can afford to be healthy. Because we know that the 99% will bear the burden of the economics of a broken health care system.

Source

Poverty’s most insidious damage is to a child’s brain

ScienceDaily
Date:July 20, 2015
Source:Washington University in St. Louis

Summary: An alarming 22 percent of U.S. children live in poverty, which can have long-lasting negative consequences on brain development, emotional health and academic achievement. Now, even more compelling evidence has been provided suggesting that growing up in poverty has detrimental effects on the brain.

An alarming 22 percent of U.S. children live in poverty, which can have long-lasting negative consequences on brain development, emotional health and

Low-income children have irregular brain development and lower standardized test scores, with as much as an estimated 20 percent gap in achievement explained by developmental lags in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Credit: © Phils Photography / Fotolia

Low-income children have irregular brain development and lower standardized test scores, with as much as an estimated 20 percent gap in achievement explained by developmental lags in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.
Credit: © Phils Photography / Fotolia

academic achievement. A new study, published July 20 in JAMA Pediatrics, provides even more compelling evidence that growing up in poverty has detrimental effects on the brain.

In an accompanying editorial, child psychiatrist Joan L. Luby, MD, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, writes that “early childhood interventions to support a nurturing environment for these children must now become our top public health priority for the good of all.”

In her own research in young children living in poverty, Luby and her colleagues have identified changes in the brain’s architecture that can lead to lifelong problems with depression, learning difficulties and limitations in the ability to cope with stress.

However, her work also shows that parents who are nurturing can offset some of the negative effects on brain anatomy seen in poor children. The findings suggest that teaching nurturing skills to parents — particularly those who live below the poverty line — may provide a lifetime of benefit for children.

Read full article…

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.