How much does hunger really cost our nation's health care system?
According to the Bread For the World Institute, at least $160 billion dollars annually, with about half of that staggering figure stemming from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and suicide. That's more than the combined federal and state spending on higher education, according to the report.
The results of the study, based on data from academic research, are considered a conservative estimate by the Bread For The World Institute because they do not include likely additional costs, such as choices between spending money on medication or food.
Research shows that children who grow up in impoverished or food insecure households are exposed to toxic levels of stress that contribute the early onset of chronic illness and make children more vulnerable to depression, substance abuse and dropping out of school.