Nearly 20 percent of U.S. households with children are food insecure, meaning they don’t have reliable access to enough food to provide healthy meals for their family.
The negative impacts of food insecurity on the health and well-being of children is well documented. For example, children living in a food insecure household:
- Are two times more likely to have “fair or poor health.”
- Have diets that are higher in sugar and fat.
- Experience a 2/3 greater risk of developmental delays.
- Are 30 percent more likely to be hospitalized.
- Are more likely to experience poor mental health.
- Experience a 140 percent greater risk of iron-deficiency anemia, which can result in delayed growth and development, increased susceptibility to infections, and worse cognitive, motor, and social-emotional functioning.
As a leader in the fight to end childhood hunger in the state, Maryland Hunger Solutions knows that a key strategy to combating hunger and food insecurity is to increase participation in federal nutrition programs. For example, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reduces food insecurity by 30 percent and children with access to food stamps experienced higher high school graduation rates and lower negative health outcomes, as compared to children in communities without access to this vital safety net program. For example, high school completion rates are 18 percent higher and obesity rates are 16 percent lower. (Source: Hoynes, Schanzenbach, and Almond, “Long Run Impacts of Childhood Access to the Safety Net,” National Bureau of Economic Research, November 2012.)
The federal and state nutrition programs (including the Food Supplement Program, School Breakfast Program, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and the Community Eligibility Provision) are vitally important. Yet, these programs are not reaching as many children as they should.
To increase participation, Maryland Hunger Solutions works to raise awareness about these programs and also works to make it easier for children to access the programs for which they are eligible.
- Technical Assistance: We can help you and your organization navigate the barriers with the federal child nutrition programs and develop solutions that enable you to maximize participation.
- Direct Outreach: We can help develop and implement strategies for direct outreach to your community to increase awareness of the availability of child nutrition programs.
- Education: We lead informational sessions about the federal child nutrition programs including eligibility, participation and best practices for implementation.
Contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information or to get your organization involved today.