In 2012, nearly 16 million U.S. children, or over one in five, lived in households that were food-insecure, defined as “a household-level economic and social condition of limited access to food.” These children are more likely than others to face a host of health problems, even when controlling for the effects of other factors correlated with poverty. The fact that food insecurity remains such a problem even though government spent over $100 billion on federal food-assistance programs in fiscal year 2012 poses a significant policy challenge.
On September 15, Princeton University and the Brookings Institution released the Fall 2014 research report of the Future of Children. The report’s authors, Craig Gundersen of the University of Illinois and James P. Ziliak of the University of Kentucky, opened the event with a review of their research, focusing on the root causes of food insecurity among children and the effectiveness of public policies designed to combat it. Following their presentation, a panel of experts discussd the report’s analyses and recommendations and offered their own.