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Study shows 1 in 5 Alaska children experience food insecurity

(WJHG)
Published: May. 21, 2018 at 3:46 PM AKDT
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(App users, to view the interactive data visualization, follow this

).

Methodology:

Data is sourced from the

. The data examines food insecurity rates of children across America – with an Alaska focus – between 2006 through 2015.

According to KIDS COUNT the data includes "children under age 18 living in households, where in the previous 12 months there was an uncertainty of having, or an inability to acquire, enough food for all household members because of insufficient money or other resources."

Furthermore, a single year represents a three-year average, in order to account for large sampling errors involving state-level data. So according to KIDS COUNT definition: 2015 represents results from the 2014, 2015 and 2016

.

Use the interactive data visualization, above, to:

• Compare child hunger and food insecurity in Alaska to the national three-year-average, from 2006 through 2015.

• Compare statewide rates of children who live in families that experienced food insecurity, during a three-year-average for 2015 only.

• And examine how 1-in-5 Alaska children experience food insecurity, in 2015.

Food insecurity data is set to release on different schedules, across the nation. The next set of averaged data for 2016 is expected to be released next year, according to Executive Director Trevor Storrs with Alaska Children's Trust.

Story:

According to the Anchorage School District, fewer kids are taking advantage of free or reduced lunch summer nutrition programs than are eligible. ASD officials say that the problem has become a bigger and bigger issue, as more students qualify for free and reduced lunch and breakfast.

While through the summer, ASD provides breakfast and lunch at different locations all over town as a way to increase outreach, school officials say many children in need might not be taking advantage of the program.

"When school lets out [for summer], there's still kids there – hungry kids," says Andrew Mergens, nutrition director with ASD.

According to Mergens, some children cannot afford to eat lunch outside of the school year.

"There are about 40 percent of school kids in need," he says. "And that need doesn't end when school lets out."

According to ASD, only 15 percent of the students eligible for free or reduced lunch are taking advantage of the program in the summer months.

School officials says these numbers are concerning, because it could indicate that all eligible students might not know about the summer food program.

In order to locate a summer food service program site near you,

.

According to statewide KIDS COUNT data, on average 1 in 5 Alaska children experienced food insecurity in 2015. To see how Alaska compares to national hunger rates, view the interactive data visualization, above.