Study examines long term impacts of hunger in children

May 17, 2018

New research from Central Michigan University has found a connection between childhood hunger and higher rates of sexual risk-taking and negative mental health impacts later in life.

The research was recently awarded a 15-thousand dollar grant from the University of Kentucky’s Center for Poverty Research.

Study author and associate professor of Public Administration,  Sharon Kukla-Acevedo said her research looked at hunger between 12 and 15 years of age and impacts later in life.

“Hunger felt in adolescence is associated with higher rates of teenage pregnancy and negative mental health. Those problems, given the long-term approach, are quite expensive and costly to governments.”

Kukla-Acevedo says the study highlights the importance of programs like SNAP that ensures families, and particularly children, have food.

“I think the implications of making cuts to SNAP are quite huge - they are very expensive in fact.”

She says the study should be released within the next few months - but the grant will support the continuation of her work.