One in 10 U.S. children experienced food insecurity from 2019 to 2020, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published in late February.

Food insecurity is “the limited or uncertain availability of safe and nutritionally adequate foods, or the limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways,” the report explained.

Among all U.S. children, 10.8% experienced food insecurity – 11.2% of 12-17-year-olds, 10.9% of those five and under, and 10.3% of 6-11-year-olds.

Girls (11%) were slightly more likely than boys (10.6%) to be food insecure.

Black (18.8) and Hispanic (15.7%) children were significantly more likely than white children (6.5%), and children with disability (19.3%) were far more likely than children without a disability (9.8%) to experience food insecurity.

Households with three or more children (13%) were more likely than those with fewer than three children (9.4%), while those with only one parent and no other adults (19.9%) were more likely than other family structures (7.7%) to experience food insecurity.

The USDA defines food insecurity as “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food,” and it delineates two levels or degrees – low and very low.

Low food security is “reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet” but with “little or no indication of reduced food intake,” while very low food security is “multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.”

The full report is available here.

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