Poorer nutrition and less access to healthcare leads to a greater likelihood of bacterial and viral infections — including foodborne illness — among low-income children, according to a report published Tuesday by the Consumer Federation of America.
More than 2 out of every 5 children in the U.S. (44 percent) live in a low-income household, the report said, and studies show that economic status is a greater predictor of risk than race or ethnicity when it comes to unintentional injuries.
Children under the age of 15 years account for approximately half of all the reported foodborne illnesses in the U.S., with children under 5 years old being especially vulnerable to foodborne pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella.
One study from Detroit cited in the report found that for every additional 10 percent of residents below the poverty line, nearby fast-food and carry-out restaurants had an increase of 0.6 critical health violations during health inspections.
“Given the high incidence of foodborne illness among children, it is especially important to learn more about the influence of factors on the safety of foods consumed by low-income children,” said Chris Waldrop, Director of CFA’s Food Policy Institute in a press statement. “Collecting more and better data related to family income would greatly improve our understanding of these safety issues.”© Food Safety News