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The US is the most industrialized nation in the world but we donít rank as highly as some countries regarding public health successes.† Infant mortality, poverty, and other health, environmental and social issues still plague us. Food insecurity is defined as not always having access to enough food to meet basic needs. Included among the 10% of US households that were deemed food insecure, were 3.5 percent of households in which food insecurity was severe enough that one or more household members were hungry at least some time during the year due to inadequate resources for food. The prevalence of food insecurity and hunger varies considerably among the States. Eight states (Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Utah) had rates of food insecurity significantly above the national average. By contrast, 20 States--most of them in the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Northeast--had rates of food insecurity significantly below the national average. The six states with the lowest incidence of food insecurity were New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Delaware and Iowa. High-food-insecurity States generally had higher than average poverty rates and higher than average use of food stamps, but there were some notable exceptions.
Food insecurity is prevalent among people who are in the lower socioeconomic strata but this does not mean all people who suffer from food insecurity are in this category.† Job insecurity, job loss, poor housing, homelessness, poor transportation, lack of resources, and poor health all contribute to the problem of food insecurity Ė among the most vulnerable are women, infants, children and the elderly.† Many times these individuals have to choose to pay for rent, housing, childcare, medical care and medicines or food.
To learn more about the health effects of hunger and food insecurity, you can access the American Dietetic Association's Paper on Hunger and Food Insecurity in the United States.
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