More than An Empty Stomach

The Cost of Hunger
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Not always visible

Food Insecurity


Bonner County's Food Insecurity Rate

What is Food Insecurity?

Eleven million children in the United States don’t get enough food – enough to fill 18,000 school busses and 223 football stadiums – and often you’d never be able to tell it by looking at them.

In Bonner County, one in five children are food insecure.3 Most families that are hungry here in Bonner County are not starving. They are food insecure.1

Food Insecurity is the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or uncertain ability to acquire foods in socially acceptable ways.2

Hunger prevents kids from reaching their full potential. It takes a heavy toll on everything from the immune system, oral health, and academic and social development. 1

Hidden Costs


Hungry children are sick more often and more likely to be hospitalized; the costs are passed along to the community.

Hungry children suffer growth impairment that precludes them from reaching their full physical potential.

Hungry children incur developmental impairments that limit their physical, intellectual and emotional development.


Hungry children ages 0-3 years cannot learn as much, as fast, or as well because chronic under-nutrition harms their cognitive development during this critical period of rapid brain growth, actually changing the fundamental neurological architecture of the brain and central nervous system. 

Hungry children do more poorly in school and have lower academic achievement because they are not well prepared for school and cannot concentrate.

Hungry children have more social and behavioral problems because they feel bad, have less energy for complex social interactions, and cannot adapt as effectively to environmental stresses.


Workers who experienced hunger as children are not as well prepared physically, mentally, emotionally, or socially to perform effectively in the contemporary workforce.

Workers who experienced hunger as children create a workforce pool that is less competitive, with lower levels of educational and technical skills, and seriously constrained human capital.


2. Child Food Insecurity: The Economic Impact on our Nation. John Cook, PhD, Karen Jeng, AB

3. Gundersen, C.E. Engelhard, A Sarah, & E. Waxman. Map the Meal Gap 2017: Food Insecurity and Child Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level. Feeding America 2017.