Sixteen Percent Of All Children In Florida Don't Have Consistent Access To Meals

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In Florida, 16 percent of all children live in food insecure households, which means they do notalways know where they will find their next meal.

In the United States overall, one out of six children in small towns and big cities lives in a food insecure household. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 12 million children in the United States live in this condition -- unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life.

That's enough children to fill every seat in all of the professional league football, baseball, basketball and hockey stadiums and every Division One NCAA basketball stadium across the country at the same time.

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Now, for the first time, the extent of child hunger as reported by the USDA has been examined by state in a new study released today by America's Second Harvest-The Nation's Food Bank Network and sponsored by ConAgra Foods Foundation. In 12 states -- nearly one quarter of the country -- more than 20 percent of the children live in households without consistent access to food.

"Next time you're in a classroom, look around and think about what this means in these states with particularly high numbers," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of America's Second Harvest. "In some states this means four or five students in a classroom of 20 kids do not consistently get the nourishment they need to grow and thrive."

Researcher John Cook, Ph.D., of the Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine, a nationally-recognized expert on child hunger, conducted the analysis.

The states with the highest rates of child food insecurity are Texas and New Mexico, where more than 24 percent of all children are at risk of hunger. The other states with child hunger rates above 20 percent are: California, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee and Utah. Washington, D.C. also has a child food insecurity rate above 20 percent.

"This study shows pockets of vulnerability which will help America's Second Harvest and the ConAgra Foods Foundation's 'Nourish Today, Flourish Tomorrow' partnership develop an overall strategy to end child hunger in

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