1 in 6 Florida kids live at risk of hungerOne in six young children live on the brink of hunger in Florida.
That means about 178,000 children under the age of 5 -- about 16.4% of all Florida children -- do not consistently have access to the daily caloric intake needed to grow and thrive.
Florida is about in the middle of the states. Across the United States, 17.3% of children under 5 face hunger.
A new report, "Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2005-07," includes the first ever state-by-state analysis of early childhood hunger, using data collected by the United States Department of Agriculture.
The numbers get a little better when the age is expanded to include all children, thanks to school breakfast and lunch programs. But even then, 15.9% of Florida kids -- about 638,000 children -- face hunger.
“Children are the engine for economic growth in the United States. Hunger creates unbearable, unsustainable costs that ripple through the economy and prevent economic success.” said researcher John Cook, Ph.D., of the Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine, a nationally-recognized expert on child hunger, who conducted the analysis. “If we fail to give them the nutrition and health supports they need in the first three to five years of life, our economy cannot fulfill its potential.”
Read the report here.