The connection between students’ health & poverty

Research shows that out-0f-school factors (like hunger or homelessness) contribute to two-thirds of the achievement gap, with the other third being attributable quality of instruction and curriculum. One in five children in the US lives below the federal poverty level; poverty is one of the most pervasive of these factors and it impacts children across all four of City Connects’ domains: academics, social/emotional, health, and family. The connection between poverty and health has taken center stage in the media lately. The New York Times’ Well blog  recently featured a post written by a pediatrician, “Poverty as a Childhood Disease,” which described how poverty impacts a child’s health:

Poverty damages children’s dispositions and blunts their brains. We’ve seen articles about the language deficit in poorer homes and the gaps in school achievement. These remind us that … poverty in this country is now likely to define many children’s life trajectories in the harshest terms: poor academic achievement, high dropout rates, and health problems from obesity and diabetes to heart disease, substance abuse and mental illness.

APA_Task_Force_Strategic_Road_Mapver3-1The post highlighted a new call for pediatricians to address childhood poverty, an effort unveiled at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies earlier this month. It called poverty “the most important problem facing children in the United States today” and advocated for a consistent and unified voice speaking out about children and poverty.

For more information:

  • On Twitter, follow the Academic Pediatric Association  @AcademicPeds

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