One Among Five Australian Children Hungry, Says Study

One among five children in an Australian classroom is hungry and goes to bed hungry. This was the finding of a survey that studied more than 5,400 school children across Australia. It found one in 10 children as missing school at least once a week and one in six are bullied.

Flinders University’s Associate Professor Gerry Redmond, who led the research, said the Australian Child Wellbeing Project (ACWP) found that “life is pretty tough” for many children.

“One young person in five reported going to school or bed hungry at least sometimes, and was also more likely to miss school frequently,” Redmond said, reports The ABC.

He said the study wanted to bring out how hunger is linked with other vital issues and impacts a young person’s well being. Redmond said the two-year study began in 2012 and is the largest of its kind in Australia.

The survey was focused on the “middle years” between early childhood and adolescence and studied the age group from eight to 14. Whittington Primary School Principal Barrie Speight told Geelong Advertiser that the findings have not surprised him.

“Research has shown for a very long time that children who come from lower socio-economic areas are severely disadvantaged in terms of their life opportunity,” he said. He said very few of them managed to make it to university, but these kids have the same range of intelligence and talents as anyone else. They only lack in equal opportunities.

Meanwhile, the comments of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on Australia Day, 2016 highlighted the issue of child poverty, added another ABC report.

“As long as 2.5 million Australians live below the poverty line, and one out of every four are children … We cannot say the fair go belongs to all”, Shorten said. The Opposition Leader was referring to a 2014 report by the Australian Council of Social Service, which said 2.55 million Australians are living in poverty, in which 23.6 percent were children.

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