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The Need for Securing Better Nutrition

When there isn’t enough money for food, health risks elevate.

Food insecurity in American households

In a nation where food seems abundant, some may be surprised to hear that about 11% of all U.S. households suffer from food insecurity, defined as a lack of access to enough food for all household members to have healthy lives.

A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that low-income, food-insecure households spend about $13 less per adult equivalent per week on food at home than food-secure households (children’s food intake and spending were converted to adult equivalents). The low-income households typically acquire roughly 5,170 fewer calories at home per adult equivalent per week, and researchers say this is equal to about 4 days’ food consumption for a male or female adult.

Since food insecurity can lead to nutritional imbalances that raise the risk for costly chronic diseases, this study calls for government policies to help food-insecure households close the spending gap on nutritious food to eat at home. A study published recently in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior suggests that promoting home and urban community gardens could be one way to curb food insecurity.

 

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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