Vanderbilt Study Finds 1.5 Million More Kids Are Going Hungry Because Of The Pandemic

Jul 27, 2020

Volunteers shelve food items earlier this year at a pantry in Nashville.
Credit Damon Mitchell | WPLN (file)

The pandemic’s ripple effects have meant 1.5 million more kids are going hungry, according to a new study in the medical journal Pediatrics. The polling data puts numbers to a food insecurity problem that has been occurring out of sight.

The study is based on national polling of parents with kids under 18. And roughly 2% said that since March, they have become unable to afford all the food they need.

Dr. Stephen Patrick of Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the lead author and says the statistically significant uptick represents 1.5 million children.

“Since schools have shut down, kids aren’t getting recognized by their teachers. School is often a source of a food for kids. They’re appearing in their pediatricians’ office less frequently,” he says. “So many of the common people outside the home that are aware of the issues are not anymore. I think it’s falling under the radar.”

Patrick says single-parent households seem to be the hardest hit.

The polling also found not having enough money for food was tied to other problems, including higher levels of stress and worsening physical health during the pandemic.