Cattlemen’s Corner: Child food insecurity in the U.S. | TSLN.com
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Cattlemen’s Corner: Child food insecurity in the U.S.

In November of 2010, the Economic Research Service at USDA released its most recent report on food insecurity, indicating that 50 million people in the U.S. are living in food insecure households, 17 million of whom are children. While the magnitude of the problem is clear, national and even state estimates of food insecurity can mask the nuances that exist at the local level.

In March 2011, Feeding America, that nation’s largest network of food banks, released Map the Meal Gap, providing a first look at food insecurity at the county and congressional district levels. Recognizing that children are particularly vulnerable to the economic challenges facing families today, Feeding America sought to replicate the food insecurity model used in the Map the Meal Gap study to reflect the need among children.

The USDA reports that nearly one in four children in the U.S. is living in a food insecure household, or a household where the members are unable to consistently access an adequate amount of nutritious food. Households with children experience food insecurity at significantly higher rates than the population in general: 21.3 percent of households with children are characterized as food insecure versus 14.7 percent of all households.



A key cause of food insecurity in the U.S. is the lack of sufficient resources to cover the cost of food in addition to meeting other basic needs. The Great Recession pushed national unemployment to its highest levels in more than 20 years, and in 2009 there were 43.6 million people in the U.S. living in households with incomes below the poverty threshold, including 15.5 million children (approximately 1 in 5).

The Map the Meal Gap study examined the relationships between food insecurity, unemployment and poverty and found that areas with higher unemployment rates have higher food insecurity rates, all else equal. Specifically, when looking at food insecurity among children, poverty and unemployment have a big impact. A one percentage point increase in the poverty rate leads to a 0.37 percentage point increase in the child food insecurity rate, while a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate leads to a 0.92 percentage point increase.



According to the study, South Dakota ranks 43rd with an estimated 19.6 percent of our 196,399 children experiencing food insecurity. That equates to nearly 38,500 children in our state alone who don’t get enough to eat! With this information in mind, it’s difficult to understand why so many are bashing modern food production practices that help us produce more abundant, safe, wholesome food in a cost-effective manner.

As you may know, Eric Schlosser, author of the book, Fast Food Nation will give a presentation titled “Fast Food, Big Ag and the Land” at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19, in the Performing Arts Center at South Dakota State University (SDSU). Recall his book was extremely critical of modern food production practices, particularly livestock production, so we encourage South Dakota farmers and ranchers to attend his presentation and be available to SDSU students who are interested in learning the truth about our nation’s food system.

For more information on Map the Meal Gap, log on to the Feeding America Web site at http://www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.

In November of 2010, the Economic Research Service at USDA released its most recent report on food insecurity, indicating that 50 million people in the U.S. are living in food insecure households, 17 million of whom are children. While the magnitude of the problem is clear, national and even state estimates of food insecurity can mask the nuances that exist at the local level.

In March 2011, Feeding America, that nation’s largest network of food banks, released Map the Meal Gap, providing a first look at food insecurity at the county and congressional district levels. Recognizing that children are particularly vulnerable to the economic challenges facing families today, Feeding America sought to replicate the food insecurity model used in the Map the Meal Gap study to reflect the need among children.

The USDA reports that nearly one in four children in the U.S. is living in a food insecure household, or a household where the members are unable to consistently access an adequate amount of nutritious food. Households with children experience food insecurity at significantly higher rates than the population in general: 21.3 percent of households with children are characterized as food insecure versus 14.7 percent of all households.

A key cause of food insecurity in the U.S. is the lack of sufficient resources to cover the cost of food in addition to meeting other basic needs. The Great Recession pushed national unemployment to its highest levels in more than 20 years, and in 2009 there were 43.6 million people in the U.S. living in households with incomes below the poverty threshold, including 15.5 million children (approximately 1 in 5).

The Map the Meal Gap study examined the relationships between food insecurity, unemployment and poverty and found that areas with higher unemployment rates have higher food insecurity rates, all else equal. Specifically, when looking at food insecurity among children, poverty and unemployment have a big impact. A one percentage point increase in the poverty rate leads to a 0.37 percentage point increase in the child food insecurity rate, while a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate leads to a 0.92 percentage point increase.

According to the study, South Dakota ranks 43rd with an estimated 19.6 percent of our 196,399 children experiencing food insecurity. That equates to nearly 38,500 children in our state alone who don’t get enough to eat! With this information in mind, it’s difficult to understand why so many are bashing modern food production practices that help us produce more abundant, safe, wholesome food in a cost-effective manner.

As you may know, Eric Schlosser, author of the book, Fast Food Nation will give a presentation titled “Fast Food, Big Ag and the Land” at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19, in the Performing Arts Center at South Dakota State University (SDSU). Recall his book was extremely critical of modern food production practices, particularly livestock production, so we encourage South Dakota farmers and ranchers to attend his presentation and be available to SDSU students who are interested in learning the truth about our nation’s food system.

For more information on Map the Meal Gap, log on to the Feeding America Web site at http://www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.


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