This month Research and Policy focuses on the relationship between nutrition and early childhood brain development. This is a painful issue in Memphis, which was recently singled out as the most food insecure city in America.

Today, more than half of American families raising young children are low-income. These are the families most likely to be unable to afford enough food to meet their basic needs. Children in food insecure families can suffer even if they themselves get enough to eat. Parental food insecurity leads to stress, deprivation, and lethargy, which translate into poor outcomes for children.

As these figures suggest, food insecurity is a significant issue in the United States, where half of all pregnant women and half of all infants depend on the WIC program, and half of all children will rely on SNAP (food stamps) at some point during their childhoods.

Maintaining the public infrastructure supporting the nutritional well-being of our youngest children is a vital part of the American commitment to equal opportunity and a stronger future.