“Poverty has a profound effect on specific circumstances, such as birth weight, infant mortality, language development, chronic illness, environmental exposure, nutrition, and injury.” (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016, para. 1) Lack of resources, lack of access to proper healthcare, poor living conditions, lack of proper nutrition, and exposure to environmental contaminants place those children living in poverty at a much higher risk for the development of illness, injury, and even death than those living above the poverty line. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2017) on their webpage for Children’s Environmental Health point out that environmental risk factors and contaminants impact the health of children much more than adults. Reasons for the higher risk for children include their bodies require more air, nutrients, and water than adults in relationship to their body weight thus increasing their exposure. (CDC, 2017) They are also still growing and developing and may not be able to deal with or eliminate harmful contaminants that enter their bodies as their immune systems are not as fully developed as adults. (CDC, 2017)
There is growing research that shows that childhood poverty “is associated with neuroendocrine dysregulation that may alter brain function and may contribute to the development of chronic cardiovascular, immune, and psychiatric disorders.” (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016, para. 2) Since children are exposed to some of these environmental contaminants at such a young age, as well as over a longer period of time, it places these children at a much higher risk for developing health issues than adults exposed to the same contaminants. (CDC, 2017) An example of a health issue related to environmental contaminants are indoor pollutants which are a leading cause of respiratory infections in children and these infections place them at a much higher risk of childhood illness and mortality. (Creel, 2002) Continued exposure to such contaminants only further harm these children leading to long-term negative health issues.
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2016). Poverty and child health in the United States. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2016/03/07/peds.2016-0339
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Children’s environmental health. Retrieved from https://ephtracking.cdc.gov/showChildEHMain.action
Creel, L. (2002). Children’s environmental health: Risks and remedies. Retrieved from http://www.prb.org/Publications/Reports/2002/ChildrensEnvironmentalHealthRisksandRemedies.aspx

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