A Deep Dive into Adolescents in Poverty

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When looking at issues relating to adolescence, there are several that come to mind. The main issue that i am going to be talking in this essay, is poverty. oday, many adolescents are growing up in poverty, and face many challenges because of it, especially later in life. Children in poverty typically go to bed hungry, wear the same clothes day to day, and struggle with performing well in school. Having a large amount of distraction outside of the classroom makes it hard for students to focus on their education and keep up with their school work. In order to fix this problem, society needs to bring attention to this issue, and try to change the circumstances. Since poverty is a big epidemic today, and many people know someone who lives in poverty, this topic is very relatable. By educating society, we can help raise money and attempt to provide a better education for children living in poverty. Even though some issues are impossible to fix, supporting children in poverty, and helping them in any way can cause a positive impact. After researching this topic, I found out a lot of information regarding the impact poverty has on adolescents. One of the main elements to understand about this issue is the importance of being there for these children. By providing a helping hand to these children there odds are more higher when looking at success. In ways such as, donating clothes, spending time, or even going to church. These small gestures can have an astonishing impact on these kids lives.

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A big issue that relates to children and poverty is obesity. A large amount of children who grew up in poverty or children who live in low income households are obese. Without having the funds to buy healthy or proper food, many parents feel they must resort to fast food or unhealthy junk food. Parents are also not able to pay for extracurricular activities or sports teams for their children to join. Exercise is a big part of a health child’s life, and not joining club or rec teams can make it harder for a child to incorporate exercise into their daily life. When looking at obesity, there can be many problems that are side effects of this disease. Growing up obesity can lead to eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and many other problems down the road (Eating Behaviors, Weight Bias, and Psychological Functioning in Multi-ethnic Low-income Adolescents). In order to avoid this parents need to be educated and understand the repercussion of feeding their children unhealthy food. There are healthy alternatives out there that do not cost a large sum of money, but educating these parents is where the difference is going to be made.

The other issue I plan to focus on the issue of the high crime rates relating to adolescents in poverty. In order to prevent this, research has shown that children who are a part of religious groups have a lower chance of committing crimes (The Protective Effects of Religious Beliefs on Behavioral Health Factors Among Low Income African American Adolescents in Chicago). The more children who live in poverty attend church, the less likely their are out causing trouble and getting into bad situations. Having older mentors and peers help lead them in the right direction and the importance of living a positive life can help drastically. Once these children know they are cared for and loved, their perspective of life can benefit greatly. Creating groups or clubs where these kids is something that does not take a lot of time and can make a huge difference. Completing more research can allow society to help understand ways to help adolescents who are living in poverty. Even though a large amount of our world understands that children are living in very poor conditions, it is still a major issue. I think it is important to continue to educate society and show them the living conditions and effects that can come from poverty. By making a change, I feel that their will not only be less crimes or homeless people living on the streets, but more successful and happy people living in this world. It does not take much to make a difference, which is why I think we need to have more people aware of this issue. Not only will the children benefit greatly, but society as a whole will also.

Works cited

  1. Cullen, M. (2016). The Protective Effects of Religious Beliefs on Behavioral Health Factors Among Low Income African American Adolescents in Chicago. Journal of Adolescent Health, 58(2), S73-S74. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.10.202
  2. Gundersen, C., Kreider, B., & Pepper, J. V. (2011). The Economics of Food Insecurity in the United States. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 33(3), 281-303. doi: 10.1093/aepp/ppq022
  3. Kaiser, L. L., Townsend, M. S., Melgar-Quiñonez, H. R., Fujii, M. L., Crawford, P. B., & Nuño, Y. (2004). What and How Much Do Low-Income Adolescents Eat? Qualitative Dietary Assessment of a Multiethnic Sample. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 104(2), 208-215. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2003.11.016
  4. Kim, J. H., & Shim, J. (2015). Eating Behaviors, Weight Bias, and Psychological Functioning in Multi-ethnic Low-income Adolescents. Journal of Ethnic And Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 24(1), 27-44. doi: 10.1080/15313204.2014.989464
  5. Lundberg, O., & Yngwe, M. A. (2014). Roots to bridges: A research review on segregation, integration and the wellbeing of children in urban areas. Göteborgs universitet, Social Medicine.
  6. Murry, V. M., Berkel, C., Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Copeland-Linder, N., Nation, M., & Neighbors, H. W. (2011). Race/Ethnicity, Coping, and Depressive Symptoms: A Behavioral Genetic Analysis. Journal of Black Psychology, 37(3), 282-302. doi: 10.1177/0095798411400319
  7. National Center for Children in Poverty. (2021). Child Poverty. Retrieved from
  8. Parks, E. P., Kumanyika, S. K., & Moore, R. H. (2017). Stigma, obesity, and the health of the nation's children. Psychological Bulletin, 143(3), 222-254. doi: 10.1037/bul0000092
  9. United Nations Children's Fund. (2021). Adolescence: An Age of Opportunity. Retrieved from
  10. United States Census Bureau. (2021). Poverty. Retrieved from
  11. World Health Organization. (2021). Adolescent Health. Retrieved from

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