This publication is the first in a series of Children’s HealthWatch Policy Action Briefs, which will provide a summary of our research, as well as that of others, on issues affecting children’s health and well-being. This brief finds that more children are at risk for health and developmental problems due to lack of food than were previously thought. These children and their families are classified as “marginally food secure” by the USDA, which suggests that they are not at risk. The data show that they are, in fact, significantly at risk

Even Very Low Levels of Food Insecurity Found to Harm Children’s Health

Research by Children’s HealthWatch found that children suffer negative health and developmental effects at very low levels of inadequate access to nutritious food. Children under age three in marginally food-secure households were found to have health outcomes that are significantly worse than children in fully food-secure households.

They are more likely to:

• Be in fair/poor health
• Be at risk for developmental delays
• Have been hospitalized since birth
• Lack stable housing
• Live in households with inadequate heating or cooling
• Have caregivers experiencing symptoms of depression
• Have caregivers with fair/poor health