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Lack of proper nutrition affects every aspect of one’s life

Gas station food, fast food or bare cupboards become the new norm for people experiencing food insecurity. But limited access to proper nutrition, has a high price to pay.
Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 3:38 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Children wake up with growling stomachs and stare at an empty cabinet before heading out the door, “So with children what you’ll see is apathy, lack of attention in school, that sort of thing,” said Rene Brand, clinical nutrition manager at Monument Health.

Parents gather Easy-mac and ramen to feed their children dinner for the fifth time this week, “The fast stuff that are high in carbs are very affordable and easy for families to make,” said MaryBeth McLellan, manager of clinical operations at Monument Health Family Medicine Residency Clinic.

A pregnant mother stops at the nearest gas station with her last couple of dollars to buy whatever she can to sustain herself for the day as she works multiple jobs, worried the baby won’t get enough nutrition.

“Cause developmental delays, can cause lower IQ, lack of education and just lead to further adulthood problems, they also have more behavioral problems with lack of nutrition,” said Brand.

Malnutrition looks different for everyone but affects them all the same.

“It’s not just lack of all food, you can also be overweight or obese and have malnutrition in that they may get adequate calories but not a variety of foods and the quality of food they need to get all the nutrients and protein,” said Brand.

The elderly, grandparents, often end up in nursing homes when they endure food insecurity due to muscle loss and mobility issues.

But if a nursing home isn’t accessible, they become regulars at the local hospital.

“They have the inability to care for themselves well and then if they do end up with any type of wound it does not heal, that’s very common,” said Brand.

Lack of proper nutrition impacts every aspect of a person’s life, with mental, emotional, and physical side effects.

“Your immune system is dependent on good nutrition and so your immunity can be down causing more illness which can also affect children and so they’re also missing more school but in your adults, they’re missing work,” said Brand.

And missing work, missing a paycheck, adds to the condition.

“We kind of look at food as medicine,” said McLellan.

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