PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s holiday time, but not for everyone. According to Public Citizens for Children and Youth, of Pennsylvania’s more than 12 million residents, more than 1.5 million live in poverty and 460,000 are children.

Over 37% of the state’s children live in families with annual incomes under $44,100 for a family of four.

Rates of “food insecurity,” the lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy life style, are highest for single women with children — often causing poor school performance, poor child development, health problems, teen depression and suicide.

Lack of full service grocery stores, more fast food restaurants, fewer parks, and unsafe playgrounds increase hunger and child obesity.

The largest nutrition program serving children is SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps, enabling eligible recipients to get debit-like cards for groceries. Federal and state budget cuts threaten the program.

Informed citizens must encourage legislators to deal with poverty issues.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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