Defining the Problem


Today, too many children do not know if there will be enough food for them every day, or do not get enough quality, nutritious food. Food insecurity puts young children at risk for negative health, developmental, behavioral, and academic outcomes.1-4 Food insecurity also puts young children’s parents and other caregivers at risk for poor physical and mental health, and can lead to family conflict.5,6  

The North Carolina Early Childhood Action Plan focuses on decreasing child food insecurity, but also includes measures that address overall healthy nutrition, like child obesity and the percent of young children who receive supplemental food and nutrition services.

Goal 3 Target

Child Food Insecurity Rate for Children Ages 0 – 17 in North Carolina

Data Source: Feeding America 

Sub-Targets

Sub-Target 1: State and Federal Supplemental Food and Nutrition Assistance Benefits

Percent of Eligible Families in North Carolina Receiving State and Federal Supplemental Food/Nutrition Assistance Benefits from Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program 

Data Source: NC Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program, Nutrition Services Branch, Division of Public Health (DPH), NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS)

*Technical notes: Estimates of the population eligible for WIC services are calculated by estimating the number of individuals at risk using the following data sources: 1) Number of live births, 2) Number of fetal deaths, 3) Population 0-4 years of age, 4) Percent of population with income less than 185% of poverty. Using these data sources, estimates are made using the following formula: Minimum Population at Risk = A + B + C + D , where  A = Infants and Children = (Population 0‐4) % county population below 185% poverty, B = Pregnant women = 9/12 (Live births and Fetal deaths) % county population below 185% poverty, C = Postpartum women = 6/12 ((Live births) * 81%) + Fetal deaths) % county population below 185% poverty, and D = Breastfeeding women (**19% (Live births)) % county population below 185% poverty. Please note that since 2015 the following factor has been used to calculate C and D respectively to be consistent with NC's Breastfeeding rates: C = 6/12 * (((BIRTH*.65) + FETAL) *POV2), D = ((.35 * BIRTH) * POV2).   *% non‐breastfeeding postpartum women participating on the WIC Program ** % breastfeeding women participating on the WIC Program

Sub-Target 2: Low Access to Food

Statewide Percent of Total North Carolina Population Who Are 0 – 17 Years of Age and Have Low Access to Healthy Food 

Data SourceUSDA Food Access Research Atlas

*Technical notes: The data shown are from the USDA Food Access Research Atlas. This data source uses low access data from the 2017 report,  Low-Income and Low-Supermarket-Access Census Tracts, 2010-2015. This report includes estimates of low-income and low-supermarket-access census tracts (as found in ERS’ Food Access Research Atlas) using a 2015 directory of supermarkets, 2010 Decennial Census data on population and sub-population characteristics, and 2010-2014 American Community Survey data on household vehicle access and family income. Percentages indicate the share of a total county population that is low access for children ages 0-17 in the county. Low access to healthy food is defined as living more than ½ mile (urban areas) or more than 10 miles (rural areas) from the nearest supermarket, supercenter, or large grocery store.

Percent of Total County Population Who Are 0 – 17 Years of Age and Have Low Access to Healthy Food by County 

Data Source: USDA Food Access Research Atlas

*Technical notes: The data shown are from the USDA Food Access Research Atlas. This data source uses low access data from the 2017 report,  Low-Income and Low-Supermarket-Access Census Tracts, 2010-2015. This report includes estimates of low-income and low-supermarket-access census tracts (as found in ERS’ Food Access Research Atlas) using a 2015 directory of supermarkets, 2010 Decennial Census data on population and sub-population characteristics, and 2010-2014 American Community Survey data on household vehicle access and family income. Percentages indicate the share of a total county population that is low access for children ages 0-17 in the county. Low access to healthy food is defined as living more than ½ mile (urban areas) or more than 10 miles (rural areas) from the nearest supermarket, supercenter, or large grocery store.

Sub-Target 3: Rates of Young Children Who Are Obese or Overweight

Percent of Children in North Carolina Aged 2 – 4 Who Receive WIC and Who Are Classified as Either Overweight or Obese

Data Source: Crossroads WIC MIS, NC Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program, Nutrition Services Branch, Division of Public Health (DPH), NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS)

*Technical note: Children served in the NC WIC Clinics are at or below the 185% FPL. Therefore, these children may not be representative of general children population in NC.

Percent of Children in North Carolina Aged 2 – 4 Who Receive WIC and Who Are Classified as Either Overweight or Obese, by County, 2017

Data Source: Crossroads WIC MIS, NC Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program, Nutrition Services Branch, Division of Public Health (DPH), NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS)

*Technical note: Children served in the NC WIC Clinics are at or below the 185% FPL. Therefore, these children may not be representative of general children population in NC.

Sub-Target 4: Poverty 

Percent of Families in North Carolina with Children Aged 0 - 8 Living at or Below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level

Data Source: American Community Survey (ACS), U.S. Census Bureau

Percent of Families in North Carolina with Children Aged 0 - 8 Living at or Below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level by Race, Ethnicity

Data Source: American Community Survey (ACS), U.S. Census Bureau