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Faculty Sponsor

Valerie Imbruce

Abstract

Food insecurity is a growing concern among children within the U.S., as the number of households who are food insecure has grown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Food insecurity in children can lead to a multitude of cognitive complications. My research investigates the relationship between food insecurity and academic performance in elementary schools in Broome County. To uncover how food insecurity and academic performance are linked, interviews were conducted with school staff (teachers, administrators, a food service manager), the area's socioeconomic status was analyzed, standardized testing scores were compiled, and the food offerings in the area were explored. The results indicate that a place with higher food insecurity and higher poverty could result in lower academic performance, as observed through test scores and observations of the school staff. The results could also highlight that an area with lower food insecurity results in higher academic performance. This demonstrates the need to provide supplementary food and expanded free meals for children in schools to maximize their ability to succeed academically. Free meals for students through the National School Lunch Program should be provided into the future and supplementary programs should be accessible to all, not just those in areas with high food insecurity, to ensure schools give their students the resources they need to succeed.

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