Did you know that 1 in 6 kids in the u.s. are food insecure?

Quick Facts

1 in 6 kids in the U.S. are food insecure.

“Child Hunger Facts.” Feeding America, Mar. 2017, www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/child-hunger-facts.html.

13 million children are faced with food insecurity in the U.S.

“Child Hunger Facts.” Feeding America, Mar. 2017, www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/child-hunger-facts.html.

Cities and rural communities are both affected by child food insecurity.

Feeding America. “MAP THE MEAL GAP 2017 Highlights of Findings for Overall and Child Food Insecurity.” Http://Www.feedingamerica.org/Hunger-in-America/Our-Research/Map-the-Meal-Gap/2015/2015-Mapthemealgap-Exec-Summary.pdf, The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, 2017.

boy at table with empty plate

The Problem

There is a child hunger crisis

There are millions of children in United States that don’t know where or when they will receive their next meal. Many only get the food they desperately need at school with their lunch being the only meal they will have that day. Children are going to bed hungry every night and face the reality of having little-to-no food on the weekends. Hunger is not the only challenge they face. There are very real, long-term impacts that food insecurity creates.
 

What are the effects of child food insecurity?

The impact of child hunger wreaks havoc on its victims. Hunger and the lack of proper nutrition causes children to have problems in health, behavior and learning. It is not until these issues arise that other adults in their lives, such as teachers, notice that a child may be experiencing food insecurity. A child may look normal, but is experiencing hunger and this can lead to disruptions in proper growth and brain development.

Health
  1. Children who are food insecure may be at higher risk for chronic health conditions such as anemia and asthma.

    1. Kirkpatrick, McIntyre, and Potestio (2010) Child hunger and long-term adverse consequences for health. Archive of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, 164 (8), 754-762.

    2. Eicher-Miller, Mason, Weaver, McCabe, and Boushey (2009) Food Insecurity is associated with iron deficiency anemia in US adolescents. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 90, 1358-1371.

    3. Skalicky, Meyers, Adams, Yang, Cook, and Frank (2006) Child Food Insecurity and Iron Deficiency Anemia in Low-Income Infants and Toddlers in the United States. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 10 (2), 177-185.

  2. Children who are food insecure may have more frequent instances of oral health problems.

    1. Muirhead, Quiñonez, Figueiredo, and Locker (2009) Oral health disparities and food insecurity in working poor Canadians. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 37, 294-304.

  3. Food insecurity among young children is associated with poorer physical quality of life, which may prevent them from fully engaging in daily activities such as school and social interactions with peers.

    1. Casey, P.H., Szeto, K.L., Robbins, J.M., Stuff, J.E., Connell, C., Gossett, J.M., & Simpson, P.M. (2005). Child health-related quality of life and household food security. Archives Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 15, 51-56.

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Behavior
  1. Food-insecure children may be at a greater risk of truancy and school tardiness.22

  1. 22.Murphy, Wehler, Pagano, Little, Kleinman and Jellinek (1998) Relationship Between Hunger and Psychosocial Functioning in Low-Income American Children. Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 37 (2), 163-170.

  1. When they are in school, children who are food insecure may experience increases in an array of behavior problems including: fighting,23 hyperactivities, aggression,24 anxiety,25 mood swings and bullying.26

  1. 23. Slack and Yoo (2005) Food hardship and child behavior problems among low-income children. Social Service Review, 75, 511–536.

  2. 24. Whitaker, Phillips, and Orzol (2006) Food insecurity and the risks of depression and anxiety in mothers and behavior problems in their pre-school-aged children. Pediatrics, 118, e859–e868.

  3. 25. Slopen, N., Fitzmaurice, G., Williams, D.R., & Gilman, S.E. (2010). Poverty, food insecurity, and the behavior of childhood internalizing and externalizing disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49,444-452.

  4. 26. Huang (2010) Does food insecurity affect parental characteristics and child behavior? Testing mediation effects. Social Science Review, September. 381-401.

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Education
  1. Food insecurity has also been linked with delayed development, poorer attachment and learning difficulties in the first two years of life.

    1. Zaslow, Bronte-Tinkew, Capps, Horowitz, Moore, and Weinstein (2008) Food Security During Infancy: Implications for Attachment and Mental Proficiency in Toddlerhood. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 13 (1), 66-80.

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The Statistics

Graph on US Child Food Insecurity

U.S. Child Food Insecurity

In 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture released its findings in a recent report on food insecurity. It indicated that 42 million of U.S. citizens are living in households that are food insecure. Thirteen million of these people are children. Child food-insecurity rates are significantly higher than the general population.

United States, USDA, ERS, et al. “Household Food Security in the United States in 2016.” Household Food Security in the United States in 2016, USDA ERS, Sept. 2017. www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us.aspx. Economic Research Report No. (ERR-237) 44 pp

graph on US county child food insecurity

Child Food Insecurity in U.S. Counties

Child food insecurity is not just in America's rural communities, 37.1 percent of food insecure children live in metropolitan areas. Los Angeles, New York City, Houston, Phoenix and Chicago are all located in counties with over 100,000 children who are food insecure.


United States, USDA, ERS, et al. “Household Food Security in the United States in 2016.” Household Food Security in the United States in 2016, USDA ERS, Sept. 2017. www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us.aspx. Economic Research Report No. (ERR-237) 44 pp

1 in 6 U.S. children are food insecure

Government Program Ineligibility

Although many food insecure households are also low-income, food insecurity can be seen in households that fall well above the poverty level. This causes many to be ineligible for federal assistance.


United States, USDA, ERS, et al. “Household Food Security in the United States in 2016.” Household Food Security in the United States in 2016, USDA ERS, Sept. 2017. www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-us.aspx. Economic Research Report No. (ERR-237) 44 pp

Child Food Insecurity

National Average

DTF_Images_DTFKMap1.pngIn the United States, 1 in 6 children are food insecure. What is the ratio in your state? 

Feeding America. “MAP THE MEAL GAP 2017 Highlights of Findings for Overall and Child Food Insecurity.” Http://Www.feedingamerica.org/Hunger-in-America/Our-Research/Map-the-Meal-Gap/2015/2015-Mapthemealgap-Exec-Summary.pdf, The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, 2017.

Backpack Programs

To fight the issue of hunger, schools, churches, community groups, nonprofit organizations and companies are banding together to fight child hunger in communities across the nation. These communities are working together to start backpack programs. Backpack programs are volunteer based efforts that pack backpacks each week full of nutritious food to send home with food insecure children on the weekends.

These powerful programs are providing millions of meals to children across the nation and rely on the support of community members and leaders to fund and service their efforts. Volunteering your time, raising funds, or even starting a backpack program are all easy ways to get involved in the fight against child hunger. You can be a leader and pillar of your community by supporting local, backpack programs and leading the cause to help end child hunger in your community. Contact your local program to find out how you can help.