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Child Poverty in America Ranked 2nd Highest in Industrialized Nations

child poverty

 

In today’s blog, Julian Omidi discusses the current epidemic of Child Poverty in the US.

America 2nd Highest Child Poverty Rate in Industrialized World

The U.S. Census reported last month that 1 in 5 children are on food stamps. That means, a total of about 15 million U.S. children are living below the poverty level. That’s only a total of $24,000 in annual income for a family of four. This highlights the sad fact that the U.S. is ranked second for having the highest level of child poverty in the 35 industrialized nations. The question is, are we making progress?

Before the housing crash of 2007, a total of 1 in 8 children were receiving food stamps. So, it would appear we have made progress seeing how those numbers are down. However, in 2014 a total of sixteen million children received food-assistance program benefits compared to only nine millions in 2007. What is the impact of these startling statistics?

Impact of Child Poverty in the U.S.

What is so alarming about these statistics, is that the top 1% of American income earners are on track to own most of the world’s wealth by 2016. Yet, we only out rank Romania when it comes to child poverty? Let’s examine the implication of child poverty has for the future of our country.

The implications associated with child poverty cost a total of 3.8% of the GDP. That is roughly a half a trillion dollars a year. This is because of lost productivity, as well as health and crime costs.

Since 2007, the rate of children living with married parents who receive food stamps has doubled! This clearly shows that the problem, if not addressed, will only substantially get worse. We must do something.

Relieving Child Poverty as a Country

We can no longer turn a blind eye to this topic. The astronomical income gap is making it too apparent that some families are disadvantaged, and their children will need help. If you look towards our capital, there are huge debates on the solution. Both sides want the solution, but are unable to work together on the solution. We must advocate for these little ones in hunger. They, after all, are our nation’s future. If we do not find a way to alleviate these statistics, more children will grow up disenfranchised. That will lead to more cost to the government in the future due to likely costs from crime and poverty relief.

If we can learn to work together, we could be on our way to healing our nation as a whole. Individually, we all can make a difference by working with various charitable organizations that help feed hungry children, whether you donate your time or volunteer. You can also get involved in the political process, by writing you representatives and asking them to take action. There is no reason that a nation as great as America should be ranked second in child poverty.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

(Julian Omidi, along with his brother, Dr. Michael Omidi, and mother, Cindy Omidi, are philanthropists who founded various charitable organizations including No More Poverty.)

 

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Poverty Rates in United States Rising in Suburbs

Julian Omidi examines the rising poverty level in the United States, which was recently brought to the nation’s attention by the Brookings Institute.

Did you know that poverty in the United States is spreading? According to a study conducted by the Brookings Institute, poverty, which was once concentrated in metropolitan areas, has moved to the suburbs, and disbursed quite thickly.

In the late seventies and early eighties, cities like Detroit, New York, Baltimore and Oakland were centers of poverty and crime, while the outlying districts were relatively calm and moneyed. Today, while these large cities (with the exception of much of New York, which has undergone a major transformation in the past decade and a half) still have their share of impoverished residents, the suburban areas have additionally begun to deteriorate.

The increase of poverty in areas surrounding industrial cities like Detroit and Milwaukee is understandable, since the factory and manufacturing jobs that kept so many families afloat have all but disappeared in the past thirty years. However, the programs that were centered around struggling individuals and families in the cities are not especially useful to people in more remote districts, since it is very difficult for most people to access these services via public transportation, which is remotely adequate considering the distance between many of the newly impoverished districts and the location of the educational, job, and health programs offered for the purpose of aiding people looking for a way out of poverty.

The demographic of the poor has changed too, according to a map developed by the Urban Institute. There is a dramatic increase in poverty among Hispanic populations outside of the western cities of Las Vegas and Phoenix. Also, there are separate sections of ethnic poor, with African American, Hispanic, Asian and White poor populations remaining isolated in their districts; ethnically mixed underserved populations remaining relatively rare.

Although the poverty level officially remains at a family income of approximately $23,000 or less, new studies show that this indicator doesn’t accurately reflect the variable cost of living throughout the United States. In New York, for example, it is estimated that, for a family of four, an income of $90,000 would barely be adequate in order to cover the basic expenses of food, rent, clothing, and healthcare, while in Simpson County, Mississippi, an income of $45,000 is needed to cover basic needs, with no money left over for savings or security. Both incomes are far above what the federal government defines as the poverty level, and both incomes represent what is needed for survival in the very highest and very lowest cost of living regions.

It is very clear that there is much work that still needs to be done in order to address the dramatic rise in economic instability in the nation. Moreover, it is clear that the prevailing methods need to be rethought if we are to be successful.

By Julian Omidi

Suburban Poor in United States

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Julian Omidi Looks at Sustainable Energy for All

Julian Omidi examines the United Nations program to provide sustainable energy in order to help eradicate poverty. Julian Omidi looks at the benefits that this program could offer the world, especially those living in poverty. 

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has organized an initiative referred to as the Sustainable Energy for All project. The goal of this global initiative is to be able to provide all citizens of the world with access to sustainable energy services while also improving the global rate of energy efficiency and increasing renewable energy.

Why are these goals so important to the betterment of our global society? Currently, roughly 20% of people around the world do not have access to modern energy services. It is estimated that as many as 3 billion people worldwide rely on energy sources such as animal waste, wood, coal, and charcoal for heating and cooking. What many forget or take for granted is that energy sources power productivity and opportunity.

Providing the impoverished not just with reliable energy resources, but with those that are sustainable as well, will lead to a way out of poverty for billions of people as well as lead to a solution that will aid in decreasing environmental warming.

According to recent studies the initiative could assist in keeping the rise in global temperature below 2°C and could make a significant contribution in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. By making sure that the provision of energy is achieved through sustainable means it will also help to promote the Millennium Development Goals and help to move the world into a lower-carbon economy. [1]

Making energy affordable and available to all will have significant positive repercussions for the world. Help spread awareness of this initiative by sharing this article via your social media profiles and help the world achieve sustainable energy.

By Julian Omidi

[1] Kirby, Alex. “Climate News Network.” Climate News Network. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.

Sustainable Energy for All

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Julian Omidi Reports on World Cancer Day 2013

Julian Omidi reports on World Cancer Day 2013 and how it is being used to dispel myths and sterotypes. Julian Omidi focuses on how these myths and stereotypes often relate to the impoverished.

Today, February 4th, is World Cancer Day, which focuses primarily on one of eleven targets of the World Cancer Declaration: dispelling myths and misconceptions that are damaging to the understanding of cancer risks and risk groups.

The World Cancer Declaration is a tool designed by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to bring attention of the growing cancer crisis to health policymakers and government leaders in an effort to “reduce the global cancer burden by 2020.” Included in the declaration are 11 targets, which include:

  • Ensure Effective Delivery Systems in All Countries
  • Significantly Improve Measurement of Cancer Burden
  • Decrease Tobacco, Alcohol Consumption, and Obesity
  • Ensure Universal Coverage of the HPV/HBV Vaccine
  • Dispel Damaging Myths and Misconceptions

With deaths caused by cancer accounting for more deaths than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined, cancer has become a significant issue worldwide. The specific goal of World Cancer Day is to focus on dispelling 4 common myths about cancer.

  1. Cancer Is Just a Health Issue No one is denying that cancer is a health issue, but it directly relates to the abilities of individuals and nations in other areas as well. One of these areas is that of poverty, of which cancer can be both a cause and outcome. Between the negative impact that cancer can have on the ability of a family or individual to earn and the high costs of treatment for the disease, many people can be put into poverty as a result. Additionally, those in poverty often lack proper access to healthcare and education, which has been show to increase risk and morbidity for cancer.
  2. Cancer Is a Disease of the Wealthy, Elderly, and Developed Countries – Many people believe that cancer only affects developed, wealthy nations, but that is not the case. In 2008 more than 55% of the 7.6 million global deaths caused by cancer occurred in developing countries. In the case of cervical cancer for example, 85% of deaths from the disease occur in developing nations.
  3. Cancer Is a Death Sentence – While cancer certainly poses a significant danger to one’s life, developed nations have made great strides in treating cancer effectively; just in the US more than 12 million people are living with cancer, the reduction of mortality for breast and cervical cancer has been significant in the last several decades, and there are more cost-effective strategies for treatment than ever before. With commitment and work these same reductions can be seen in developing countries as well.
  4. Cancer is My Fate – Prevention is the best way toward reducing the global burden of cancer, specifically when it comes to lung cancer. By addressing tobacco use, which accounts for almost one-third of lung cancer deaths, the number of people that die or even contract cancer can be significantly lowered. In developing nations, addressing cancer-causing infections is the most important issue, including hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human papillomavirus (HPV).

Help spread the message that while cancer may affect anyone in the world, it is neither a death sentence or fate for you or anyone you love. Share this article to your Twitter or Facebook profiles to spread knowledge of the facts, not the myths, behind cancer on World Cancer Day.

By Julian Omidi

World Cancer Day 2013

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Underreported Stories of Philanthropy in 2012

As a philanthropist, Julian Omidi feels it is important to highlight both noble philanthropic efforts and issues they deserve increased awareness. Here Julian Omidi looks at five underreported stories of altruism and struggle from 2012.

Sometimes we need to be made aware of people’s acts of kindness as well as the deprivation in the world, even if only to remind us to be grateful for all of our own blessings. Neither acts of philanthropy nor news of people who need help typically receive a great deal of attention from our news or social media. Unless a celebrity is involved, important humanitarian issues generally go unreported.

Here are what we believe to be five of the most underreported philanthropic news stories of 2012.  Some of these stories involve people and institutions who work to improve the lives of people in nearly hopeless conditions; others are stories that remind us of all of the work that still needs to be done.

1.  The widespread distribution of vaccines for pneumonia and diarrhea in Ghana.  Without anyone in the rest of the world noticing, Ghana became the first African country to combine the pneumococcal vaccine with a rotavirus vaccine in order to eradicate two of the leading causes of childhood death around the world.  Enough medication to vaccinate every single Ghanan child was given to every health clinic.

2.  Climate change could introduce malaria back to parts of the world that had it under control.  It is believed that in 50 years, regions in Africa will be so altered by climate change that malaria-carrying mosquitoes will begin to flourish in regions previously unaffected, and thwarting all of the efforts made to eradicate the disease once and for all.

3.  The police officer who bought shoes for a homeless man.  On a chilly New York sidewalk, a police officer noticed a shoeless homeless man, so he stopped by a local shoe retailer and bought him a pair of shoes.  The whole event was captured on a passerby’s smartphone camera and broadcast across the internet.

4.  Childhood malnutrition in Yemen.  Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, and was reported that three quarters of a million children are classified as being chronically malnourished—double the statistics of 2000.  The Arab Spring uprising and internal insurgencies has caused many citizens to flee to remote areas for their own safety, where there is little food, poor sanitation and rampant disease.

5.  The 100th million meningitis A vaccine was administered in Nigeria.  Meningitis A is a deadly disease that threatens more than 450 million people in what is known as the meningitis belt, a length of sub-Saharan countries that stretch from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east. Over the course of two weeks over 16 million people were vaccinated in Nigeria.

By Julian Omidi

Vaccinations in Ghana

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Julian Omidi Tracks the Flu Season and It’s Arrival in Los Angeles

Julian Omidi looks at the severe outbreak of the flu that has affected the United States and is poised to strike Los Angeles. Julian Omidi also looks at preventative measures you can take and what to look out for during this particularly dangerous flu season.

If you look on your social media accounts you will no dobut know someone (or several people) keeping the world apprised of their battle with the flu; excessive vomiting, fatigue, the sweats. The flu this season has so far accounted for over 2,200 hospitalizations throughout the country and has very tragically resulted in the deaths of 18 children.

Since October 1st Boston alone has seen 700 confirmed cases of influenza, and the flu is set to hit Los Angeles with the L.A. County Department of Public Health advising in a statement this week that:

“Flu activity is now on the rise and expected to get worse over the next few weeks.”

The department has released some of the following information to help you stay safe during this particularly volatile and dangerous flu season in Los Angeles.

  • If you know someone who has contracted the flu you can expect them to be contagious for about five days after becoming sick, so take extra precaution around these individuals especially if they reside with you.
  • Frequently washing your hands as well as avoiding contact whenever possible with your nose, eyes, and mouth will help prevent the spread of germs.
  • Seriously consider getting a flu shot. Many pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS offer flu shots at a discount or free of charge to those without health insurance.
  • Those for which the flu presents a paricularly dangerous risk include women who are pregnant, adults over the age of 65, those experiencing chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, and those living or working in long-term care facilities, day care, or health care.

Due to the fact that the flu season hit earlier this year many contracted it during the winter holidays, though officials warn that with flu seasons often extending into May that to think the worst is already over is not a mistake to make this year; deaths from a particularly strong flu season can reach close to 50,000 and see hospitalizations climb near 200,000.

Be safe and take all of the necessary precautions to avoid the flu season this year in Los Angeles.

By Julian Omidi

Flu Season 2013

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Julian Omidi Reports on Pregnancy Test Used to Identify Testicular Cancer

Julian Omidi is one of many people that was made aware of a man that used a pregnancy test to identify testicular cancer. Here, Julian Omidi reviews  how this happened, but more importantly, how this relates to the benefits of communication and awareness that are available thanks to modern technology and social media.

Most people are aware of this story at this point, but for those who are unfamiliar with it here is a brief review: A man took a pregnancy test as a laugh only to see that it came up positive. A friend of this man made a humorous cartoon out of the situation and posted it to Reddit, a website that features user-generated news links. Users left comments on the post informing the cartoonist that because pregnancy tests identify the hCG hormone, which not only indicates pregnancy but testicular cancer as well, the man would benefit from visiting the doctor. When the man did visit the doctor he found that he had a small tumor in his testicle, though luckily it was a very early and curable tumor.

Though in this instance the pregnancy test did allow the man to identify that he had cancer, this is not a recommended procedure for identifying testicular cancer. False-positive pregnancy tests are very common, especially when compared to the actual number of cases of testicular cancer that appear in men each year (roughly 5.4 per 100,000 men). What is most interesting about this case is the ability for individuals to get questions to medical issues answered relatively quickly by using websites and social media.

While it is always preferable to consult a trained doctor about any medical issues, many individuals now are able to identify potential health problems through websites like WebMD, eHealthForum, Ask, and many more. On social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter cancer patients, for example, can connect with cancer survivors and find out how to manage nausea during chemotherapy treatment, or gain insight into the likelihood of side effects experienced on specific medications.

We are lucky to live in an age of information sharing, and while there is a great degree of misinformation provided by these same tools, the benefits often outweigh the liabilities.

By

Julian Omidi

Source:

DeNoon, Daniel. “WebMD Newsroom.” WebMD.com. WebMD, 12 Nov. 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. <http://blogs.webmd.com/breaking-news/2012/11/pregnancy-test-reveals-testicular-cancer.html&gt;.

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Julian Omidi Reviews LA Sports Arena’s Free Healthcare Clinic

As a resident of Los Angeles, Julian Omidi wants to review the recent free healthcare clinic held at the LA Sports Arena. Julian Omidi recognizes the importance of helping those without health care, especially the impoverished, which is why he formed No More Poverty with his brother Dr. Michael Omidi, MD.

Yesterday (September 27th) saw the beginning of the fourth annual free health care clinic help at LA Sports Arena. Just shy of 5,000 people are exected to attend the clinic over the weekend, which will see county health workers, doctors, dentists, optometrists, and more providing free care for those in need of health care.

Many of those that assembled at the sports arena had not seen a health care professional in years due to lack of adequate healthcare or any form of healthcare at all. The most heavily trafficked areas included dentists and optometrists, areas that are often not provided for by health insurance or have such a high premium that potential patients can’t afford these benefits.

The massive free health clinic will offer more than just care services as it will also education for patients, preventive services including counseling on nutrition and quitting smoking, connecting these people with follow-up care at various local health centers, and county health workers that will assist people in enrolling in the Healthy Way LA free coverage program to assist many of these people until the national health insurance law takes effect in 2014.

Most of the individuals seeking this assistance are not impoverished and in fact are employed but still cannot afford healthcare, unfortunately; but this is an event that is universal in its approach, as it can aid anyone, impoverished or not. If you are in need of health care and live in the Los Angeles area, please take advantage of this opportunity for the sake of you and your health.

By

Julian Omidi

Sources:

Davis, Katherine. “Intersections South LA | Free Health Care Clinic in South LA Attracts Thousands.” Intersections South LA | Free Health Care Clinic in South LA Attracts Thousands. USC Annenberg, 27 Sept. 2012. Web. 28 Sept. 2012. <http://www.intersectionssouthla.org/index.php/story/free_health_care_clinic_in_south_la_attracts_thousands/&gt;.

Gorman, Anna. “Free Healthcare Clinic at L.A. Sports Arena Draws 4,800.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 27 Sept. 2012. Web. 28 Sept. 2012. <http://www.latimes.com/health/la-me-free-clinic-20120928,0,5290965.story&gt;.

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Julian Omidi on the Link Between Education, Income, and Obesity

Julian Omidi is concerned about the increasing rates of obesity in the United States and the most recent projections about that from a new study. Julian Omidi here discusses some of the common issues faced when fighting against obesity.

Recently the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation projects released research that projected about half of the adults in the United States could be obese by the year 2030, less than 20 years from now.

Currently about 35.7% of adults and 16.9% of children are obese in the U.S. Projections could see some states reaching obesity rates as high as 60% with all states seeing rates of at least 44%. Delaware, for example, could see obesity rates as high as 64.7% based on the rate of increase they have experienced since 1999, and that would make it only the third most obese state.

Unfortunately it seems that education and income have been linked to obesity directly. This most recent report found:

“About one-third of adults without a high school diploma were obese, compared with about one-fifth of those who graduated from college or technical college. And one-third of adults who earn less than $15,000 per year are obese, compared to one-quarter of those who earned $50,000 or more per year. The obesity-poverty connection reflects such facts that calorie-dense foods are cheap and that poor neighborhoods have fewer playgrounds, sidewalks and other amenities that encourage exercise.”

This study shows that as contradictory as it may seem, poverty and obesity can be directly related. These findings only further my resolve to assist the impoverished through the not-for-profit organization I founded with my brother Michael Omidi. Our charity No More Poverty works to assist the impoverished in all areas whether they be hungry, homeless, or unhealthy.

These are just projections and we can make change the tide in the fight against obesity through regular exercise and a healthy diet. Hopefully, as a nation, we can keep these projections from coming true.

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Julian Omidi Discusses Tuberculosis and Poverty

Omidi Brothers Michael and Julian Omidi work through their not-for-profit agency No More Poverty to combat poverty related issues. A common illness among the impoverished, Julian Omidi discusses tuberculosis and how the “sunshine vitamin” may aid in patient recovery from TB.

The impoverished are not only more susceptible to the spread of tuberculosis but also to fatality as a result of contracting of the bacterial infection. Most active cases of tuberculosis occur in developing countries. When left untreated TB can kill as many as half of its victims resulting in an annual death rate from the disease of over 2 million people.

In 2010 tuberculosis was contracted by almost 9 million individuals and resulted in almost 1 1/2 million deaths, with 95% of these cases reported in “low and middle-income countries.” This is partly due to the lack of access and affordability of antibiotics that treat the illness. Now there is evidence that suggests when coupled with antibiotics, vitamin D can help to treat tuberculosis quicker and decrease the period during which the infection may spread to others.

An article published by CBS News cited a study that was performed by researchers at Queen Mary at the University of London. Heliotherapy (essentially prescribed sunbathing) used to be used to treat tuberculosis before the advent and implementation of antibiotic treatment and it somewhat worked, which led the researchers to explore this treatment when coupled with antibiotics.

Hopefully the use of Vitamin D will help those in impoverished countries reduce the amount of time that they are infectious and help to reduce the amount of inflammation and damage caused by that inflammation to the lungs. An added benefit may be that patients won’t have to be on antibiotics for as long, thus reducing costs, but this remains to be seen.

Tuberculosis is just one of many health and well-being issues faced by those suffering from poverty. The impoverished need your help to receive not only treatments and antibiotics but simple necessities like clean drinking water, shelter, and food. Please join my brother Michael Omidi and I in the fight against poverty by visiting No More Poverty today.

Sources:

Castillo, Michelle. “”Sunshine” Vitamin May Aid in Treatment of Tuberculosis.”CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 04 Sept. 2012. Web. 04 Sept. 2012. <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57505548-10391704/sunshine-vitamin-may-aid-in-treatment-of-tuberculosis/&gt;.

http://www.medicineinneed.org/diseases-of-poverty-tuberculosis.html

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