Good nutrition, particularly in the early developmental years of life, is important for establishing a good foundation that has implications for a child’s future physical and mental health, academic achievement, and economic productivity. Unfortunately, food insecurity is a large obstacle in the United States. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 15.3 million children under 18 in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. Although food insecurity is harmful to any individual, it can be particularly devastating among children due to their increased vulnerability and the potential for long-term consequences.
- 15.3 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2014.
- Twenty percent or more of the child population in 38 states and D.C. lived in food-insecure households in 2013, according to the most recent data available.
- An average of 17.4 milloin households are food-insecure.
Charitable Food Assistance
- Twelve million children are estimated to be served by Feeding America, over 3.5 million of which are ages 5 and under.[v]
- Proper nutrition is vital to the growth and development of children. While almost all (94%) of client households with school-aged children (ages 5-18) report participating in the National School Lunch Program, only 46 percent report participating in the School Breakfast Program.
- Nearly one in four (24%) client households with children report participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).[vii]
- Half of client households that reported doubling up (housing more than one family in the same living space) in the past 12 months have one or more children that are five years old or younger.
- The majority (53%) of client households that are unstably housed (such as a shelter) have one or more children that are five years old or younger.