Tue, May 10, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Poll finds 20% of disadvantaged children skip meals

GOING WITHOUT:The survey found many children did not have fresh seafood, meat or milk at home and surprisingly found some worried about inflation

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff Reporter

One in five children from disadvantaged families do not eat breakfast every day, while two in five often make do with meager meals, the Child Welfare League Foundation said yesterday.

Between March 15 and March 25, the foundation polled 1,190 children in grades five and six asking them about their daily diet and nutrition.

About 20 percent of children from disadvantaged families said they did not eat breakfast every day, while 10 percent said they did not eat breakfast more than three times a week.

More than half the children from disadvantaged families surveyed said the refrigerator at home did not contain fresh seafood, 38 percent said they did not have fresh meat products, while 65 percent said they did not have fresh milk at home.

Children from such households also said they feared for their living standards amid rising consumer prices, with 11 percent saying they would worry about the quality of their meals if food prices continued to rise.

Rising prices also added to the worry that family members would argue more often (14 percent), and 66 percent of children from disadvantaged households said they worried about their family’s finances.

More than half of disadvantaged children came from households without a car, while water heaters, landline phones, cable TV, Internet connections and computers were all luxuries many cannot afford, the survey showed.

Foundation executive director Alicia Wang (王育敏) said rising consumer prices were especially taxing on disadvantaged children, who are fully aware of the financial pressures faced by family members.

Wang said rising food prices could be especially brutal for children from disadvantaged families because meals that are not as nutritiously balanced or made from fresh ingredients can be harmful to their physical growth and development.

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