Eighty-four percent of U.S. households with children were food secure throughout 2007, according to a new report from USDA’s Economic Research Service. The agency defines food security as meaning they had consistent access to adequate food for active, healthy lives for all household members.

Nearly 16 percent of households with children were food insecure sometime during the year, including 8.3 percent in which children were food insecure. Close to 1 percent of households have one or more children who experienced very low food security, which is the most severe food-insecure condition measured by the agency.

The report notes that numerous studies suggest children in food-insecure households have higher risks of health and development problems than children in otherwise similar food-secure households.

Food insecurity does not just affect the unemployed. This study found that about 85 percent of households with food-insecure children had a working adult, including 70 percent with a full-time worker. Education clearly plays a role, as fewer than half of households with food-insecure children included an adult educated past high school.

The agency concludes that job opportunities and wage rates for less educated workers are important factors affecting the food security of children. In 2007, Federal food and nutrition assistance programs provided benefits to four out of five low-income, food-insecure households with children.