As many as 17 million children nationwide are struggling with what is known as food insecurity. To put it another way, one in four children in the country is living without consistent access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy life, according to the study, "Map the Meal Child Food Insecurity 2011."

The consequences of malnutrition can be severe. Several studies have shown that food insecurity affects cognitive development among young children. And for older children, school performance is affected. Additional research shows that with hunger comes more frequent sickness and higher healthcare costs.

In fact, a shocking 49 percent of all babies born in the U.S. are born to families receiving food supplements from the WIC program, according to Jean Daniel, spokesperson for the USDA.

For many who are struggling to makes ends meet, the food banks may be the only place to turn. According to the Feeding America study, of the 17 million children living in food-insecure households nationwide, almost 4 million live in households earning more than the official poverty limit and are therefore not eligible for federal food aid programs.

In 314 counties around the country, one third of the children in the country are living in food-insecure households.

  • Children who struggle with hunger are likely to be sick more often, to recover from illness more slowly and to be hospitalized more frequently. Children's Health Watch
  • Children who struggle with hunger are more likely to experience headaches, stomachaches, colds, ear infections, and fatigue. National Institute of Health
  • Undernourished children under three years of age are less likely to learn as much, as fast or as well as adequately nourished children. National Institutes of Health
  • Lack of enough healthy food can impair a child's ability to concentrate and perform well in school. Harvard School Breakfast Research Summary



Number of kids in America living in households without consistent access to adequate food. 
United States Department of Agriculture


Percentage of kids under the age of 18 who live in poverty in America. 
US Census


Number of low-income children who rely on free or reduced-price lunches for their nutritional needs on an Average school day. 
United States Department of Agriculture


Number of low-income children who receive free or reduced-price school breakfast.
United States Department of Agriculture

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