A critical component to a healthy life is nutrition. From birth, the intake of vital nutrients is essential to the growth and development of a healthy individual. Good nutrition, particularly in the first three years of life, is important in establishing and maintaining a good foundation that has implications on a child’s future physical and mental health, academic achievement, and economic productivity. Unfortunately, food insecurity is an obstacle that threatens that critical foundation.

In the United States, more than one out of six children lives in a household with food insecurity, which means they do not always know where they will find their next meal. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 17.2 million children under 18 in the United States live in this condition – unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life. i The top five states with the highest rates of child food insecurity (children under 18) are Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Mississippi as well as the District of Columbia. There are sixteen states as well as the District of Columbia where 20% or more of the child population are living in food insecure households.

 

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