14.8 percent of children in Delaware are experiencing food insecurity, according to new research released today by Feeding America and funded by the ConAgra Foods Foundation, Feeding America’s Leadership Partner in the Fight to End Child Hunger.
Food insecurity is defined as limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food and limited or uncertain ability to acquire food in socially acceptable ways.
Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008 reveals that child food insecurity in Delaware has increased by one percentage point since the 2005-2007 study.
“Unfortunately, we are not surprised by this increase,” says Food Bank of Delaware, President and CEO, Patricia Beebe. “Based on the sheer volume of meals that have been requested by our Summer Feeding sites over the past several years, we know that thousands of more Delaware families are struggling to feed their children. I am certain that the 2009-2011 study will be more startling. We urge congress to take all appropriate measures to reauthorize children’s nutrition programs so we can continue to nourish our future.”
The study also reveals regional data on food insecurity for children under the age of 5. In the Northeast 13.7 percent of children under the age of five are food insecure. In the South, more than one in five children or nearly 22 percent of young children are food insecure – the highest rate in the nation. The Western region of the country has the second highest rate of young child food insecurity at nearly one in five, or 19.6 percent. The Midwest has a rate of more than one in six, or 18.6 percent; and the Northeast has a rate of nearly one in seven, or 13.7 percent.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases an annual report on the state of food insecurity in the United States, which focuses on the general population in each state. This new report delves deeper into the data in order to bring the child hunger statistics to the forefront.
While the recent 2009 USDA food insecurity report revealed that nationally, nearly one in four children is food insecure, determining detailed, state-level estimates on child food insecurity requires looking at a three-year average to increase accuracy and reliability. Though high, these estimates are expected to rise over the coming years as the full impact of the economic downturn is taken into account.
Through the support of the ConAgra Foods Foundation, Feeding America contracted nationally-recognized researcher John Cook, Ph.D. to analyze the USDA’s food insecurity raw data in order to provide state-level child food insecurity estimates.
“Research over the past 12 years shows conclusively that food insecurity and hunger are serious threats to children’s health, growth and development, and may even harm young children’s brain architecture,” Cook said.
“This report demonstrates the crisis that our country continues to face at the local level,” said Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of Feeding America. “The fight against hunger is more important than ever. We thank our longtime partners at the ConAgra Foods Foundation for their ongoing support in the fight against child hunger and their commitment to funding critical research, such as this study by Dr. Cook. The data underscores the critical importance of passing the new Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act. We are committed to putting an end to child hunger.”
The ConAgra Foods Foundation has been a dedicated partner of Feeding America for more than 15 years, providing both food and funds in the fight against hunger. ConAgra Foods recently committed $10 million over five years to fight child hunger with Feeding America. This is the largest donation in Feeding America’s history specifically designated to support the fight against child hunger.
“We’re dedicated to helping solve childhood hunger, but to do so we must first understand the need. That’s why the ConAgra Foods Foundation funded this study with Feeding America and Dr. Cook,” said Kori Reed, Executive Director, ConAgra Foods Foundation. “Knowing where children are most in need of our support will allow us to better direct our funding and resources to provide the most relief. It will also bring all of us one step closer to ending child hunger in America.”
To view the full report, please click here.