More Than 3.5 Million Children Under the Age of Five Are Food Insecure
CHICAGO, May 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One in six young children live on the brink of hunger in 26 states in the U.S., according to a new report issued today by Feeding America. The rate of food insecurity in young children is 33 percent higher than in U.S. adults, where one in eight live at risk of hunger.
Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2005 -- 2007 states that 3.5 million children, ages five and under, are food insecure.
The analysis includes the first ever state-by-state analysis of early childhood hunger, using data collected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The report also found that food insecurity among all children (persons less than 18 years of age) increased dramatically in many states, when compared to USDA data collected between 2003 and 2005. The report was funded with a grant from the ConAgra Foods Foundation.
More than 12 million children in the United States are food insecure -- unable to consistently access adequate amounts of nutritious food necessary for a healthy life.
"Children are the engine for economic growth in the United States. Hunger creates unbearable, unsustainable costs that ripple through the economy and prevent economic success." said researcher John Cook, Ph.D., of the Boston Medical Center and
"The first three years of life are the most critical period of brain growth and development. Child hunger causes physical and mental impairment that may never be reversed. Child hunger also creates tremendous costs that are completely unavoidable. There is no better investment in a prosperous future than investing in ending childhood hunger."
"The startling fact that so many very young children in this country do not have adequate nutrition necessary to grow and develop into healthy adults is heartbreaking. It is all the more tragic when one considers that it is also entirely preventable," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. "We know that a child who is hungry and cannot learn; they become a man or woman who cannot earn."
The states with the highest rates of food insecure children under 5 years of age are:
State Rate ----- ---- Louisiana 24.2% North Carolina 24.1% Ohio 23.8% Kentucky 23.3% Texas 23.3% New Mexico 23.3% Kansas 20.9% South Carolina 20.7% Tennessee 20.4% Idaho 20.2% Arkansas 20.0% West Virginia 19.8% Missouri 19.8%
The states with the highest rates of food insecure children under the age of 18 are:
State Rate ----- ---- Texas 22.1% Mississippi 21.5% District of Columbia 21.4% Tennessee 20.5% Arizona 20.2% South Carolina 20.2% Louisiana 20.0% Missouri 20.0% Maine 19.5% North Carolina 19.4%
The state-by-state study was sponsored by the ConAgra Foods Foundation as part of its "Nourish Today, Flourish Tomorrow" program focused on child hunger and nutrition education. ConAgra Foods is a major donor to Feeding America, whose network of food banks and food-rescue organizations serves 25 million Americans every year.
"ConAgra Foods is stepping up its fight to end child hunger in the United States," said Kori Reed, executive director of the ConAgra Foods Foundation. "The ConAgra Foods Foundation is building a community of people who are passionate about ending child hunger and teaching kids about nutrition, building a movement to ensure that hunger remains at the forefront of the national agenda and inspires action."
Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2005 -- 2007 analyzes data collected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) over a three-year period. The USDA has collected data on domestic food insecurity since 1995, but has not analyzed it to determine specifically the number of children living in food insecure households by state.
The ConAgra Foods Foundation program is the largest corporate initiative solely dedicated to fighting hunger through Feeding America. ConAgra Foods has contributed more than $27 million in funding to the organization since 1993. The ConAgra Foods Foundation also granted 167 trucks to member food banks to help with the transportation of donated food. They have provided grants to open 257 Kids Cafes, which are after-school programs that offer food and a safe haven for children in need nationwide.
|SOURCE Feeding America|
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