Essay: Childhood Hunger and Structional Functionalism

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[. . .] The Structural-Functionalism Theory and Childhood Hunger

According to the structural-functionalism theory, society is consisted of institutions that are organized in order to meet the needs of the society. This theory puts emphasis on the notion that all sections of the society are harmonized with characteristics of solidity, compromise, mutual aid and steadiness. The social system of a society that has various parts is there to complement each other by cooperating and assisting each other. The proponents of the structural-functionalism theory explain stratification by proposing that "the roles filled by the upper classes -- governance, economic innovation, investment and management -- are essential for a cohesive and smoothly running society; hence, the upper class is rewarded in proportion to their value to the social order" (Andersen & Taylor 217).

The structural-functionalist perspective regards economic inequality as a characteristic of society that has both positive as well as negative repercussions for the social order. According to functionalists, poverty is a part of life and though it is widely acknowledged as a problem for the society, it does have a role to perform. Without poverty, no society can function. This is because society is composed of various parts that depend on each other and poverty has an important role to play in that regard. Thus, poverty is an essential phenomenon as it helps in the operation of proper functioning of wheel of life and it has an important contribution towards the society as far as reproduction is concerned. Poverty decreases as social class elevates. Thus, when the structural-functionalism theory is applied on the issue of childhood hunger, it is evident that "the experience of childhood may differ according to social class, with children's social backgrounds being even more important than low birth weight in determining how they achieve in school and later life" (Covington 137). Thus, the structural-functionalism theory very well indicates that the deprivation at social level ie. poverty is the most significant cause of the achievements differentiation level of children. It simply means that a child who belongs to upper class 9 having food security) would perform much better as compared to a child who is deprived of food due to his/her social status in the society (Covington 137).

How to end Childhood Hunger?

By taking a number of important steps, the menace of childhood hunger can be ended for a better world. The first and foremost step in this regard is the creation of such an economic system where everyone is provided with equal and unbiased opportunities. This is because a flourishing and prosperous financial system that offers well-paying jobs can have a positive long-term effect and can be used as a major weapon to combat the threat of hunger. Thus, if families are provided with well-paid jobs, it may make them economically secure and financially independent enabling them to fulfill all the necessary requirements. If parents will have good jobs only then they will be able to make a better future for their children. Thus, such monetary policies must be pursued by the governments all over the world that could help in the creation of more and more jobs resulting in impartial economic growth ("NAHO Roadmap to End Childhood Hunger in America by 2015" 4).

Secondly, the minimum wage of the workers must be increased so that the poor families can live a decent life. Therefore, it is important for the government to introduce an economic system that maintains wages according to the rising living costs. Such an action would help families that are poor because then they would not have to sacrifice their one basic need to acquire the other. Thirdly, the governments must make sure that such a tax system is established that can help families prosper with the passage of time instead of decline. Fourthly, major supports must be improved for helping families with children fulfill their necessities. It is not possible for a government to make over-night changes in the economic system. Therefore, it is important for the government to help families in meeting their fundamental needs and maintain their jobs until they become self-sufficient. Moreover, the poor and needy families must be given affordable housing by granting them housing vouchers. Child-care programs must also be initiated and maintained. Protection must be given to families, particularly to those families where there is any disabled individual(s) ("NAHO Roadmap to End Childhood Hunger in America by 2015" 4).

Families must also be given access to a quality healthcare that is within their means. The government has the responsibility of making sure that every citizen can have access to reasonably priced and quality healthcare system. Moreover, it must also make sure that everyone in the society has access to the nutrition programs introduced at federal level. This is exceedingly important because when it is not possible for a family to have three meals a day, it becomes the responsibility of the government to offer it assistance. Such a step would guarantee that every child in the country did not go to sleep with an empty stomach and had enough food to eat. Nutrition programs can change such a scenario and may be very effective in the reduction of child hunger if they reach a majority of children and their families. In this regard, the government must introduce federal nutrition programs that have simple enrollment and administration features ("NAHO Roadmap to End Childhood Hunger in America by 2015" 5).


Child food insecurity and insufficiency are particularly destructive during the first thirty-six months of a child's life as this period is very sensitive. It is during the first three years that "the foundation is being laid that will support human capital formation throughout the school years, and on into adulthood." The brain of a child develops during these three years. Thus, he/she must be provided with the required nutritious food, care, encouragement and love for the proper structuring of the central nervous system. This is extremely important as a child's future is excessively dependent on the foundation laid in these years. A child becomes ready for school in these three years and the future life is greatly affected by the growth, development and experiences during his/her formative years. Those years and the prenatal period are extremely significant in setting the stage for the remaining life of an individual. This discussion was intended to restate the importance of food security because hunger experienced by a child in his/her formative years may destroy his/her adult life completely. Hunger, insufficiency or insecurity of food may hamper the brain development of a child. Such suffering may be extremely detrimental making it hard for the innocent victim of hunger to reach his/her full potential as an effective citizen or worker in later life (Cook & Jeng 26).

The history of the world reveals that there never was a country that continued to be a powerful force if it was not successful in feeding its children in an adequate manner. Thus, ending childhood hunger is not the best option for the contemporary world today but it is also the smartest option if governments and people want to progress. Although, the current recession experienced at an international level has destabilized the economic systems of a majority of countries, it must be remembered that the future financial well-being is dependent on the health of the children of the society. Therefore, it is exceedingly important for the authorities to make such investment policies that make it possible for children to have a healthy life as only then success can be achieved at a domestic and global level.


Andersen, M.L. & H.F. Taylor. Sociology with Infotrac: Understanding a Diverse Society, Casebound. Belmont: Thomson Learning Inc., 2008. Print.

Berg, J. "Feeding Opportunity: Ending Child Hunger Furthers the Goal of Cutting U.S. Poverty in Half over the Next Decade." American Progress. Center for American Progress, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2013. .

Cook, J., and K. Jeng. "Child Food Insecurity: The Economic Impact on our Nation." Feeding America. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2013. .

Covington, P.. Success in Sociology. Buckhingamshire: Folens Limited, 2008. Print.

"Hunger and Food Security in Canada."Meal Exchange. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2013. .

"NAHO Roadmap to End Childhood Hunger in America by 2015." Alliance to End Hunger. National Anti-hunger Organizations, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2013. . [END OF PREVIEW]

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Childhood Hunger and Structional Functionalism.  (2013, March 18).  Retrieved May 20, 2019, from

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