Globally, food insecurity is a significant contextual aspect of childhood. About 850 million people were undernourished worldwide during the period 2006-2008, including 129.6 million people, or 10 percent of the population, in China (FAO, 2011, pp. 45-46). Implications of food insecurity for children's schooling in developing country contexts are poorly understood. Analyses of a survey of children from 100 villages in northwest China show that long-term undernourishment and food insecurity strike the poorest disproportionately, but not exclusively; long-term undernourishment matters for literacy via early achievement; and, after adjusting for socioeconomic status, long-term undernourishment, and prior achievement, food insecure children have significantly lower literacy scores.
Hannum, E.; Frongillo, E.; Liu, J.H. Poverty, food insecurity and nutritional deprivation in rural China: Implications for children’s literacy achievement. International Journal of Educational Development (2013): in press [DOI: 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2012.07.003]