Gentle Dental at Jefferson Avenue
529 E Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226

Access to a Healthy Diet – Food Security

It might be hard to imagine not having enough food to eat but for many people around the world it is a reality that they are faced with everyday. Hunger and food insecurity are not only problems in other countries, they are problems in the United States as well. As the population of the Earth continues to grow, work needs to be done to find a solution to hunger and food insecurity.

What is Food Security?

Food security is a term coined by the World Food Summit in 1996. Food security basically means that all people have access to a nutritious diet at all times. The concept of food security generally includes both economic and physical access to food that not only meets people’s dietary needs but also their preferences. Food security is built on three pillars including food use, food access, and food availability. Availability means that a sufficient amount of food should always be available. Access refers to having the resources needed to obtain food. Food use refers to the appropriate use of food based on basic nutrition concepts.

Food security is considered a complex issue that is linked to sustainable development, economic development, trade, and environment. There is an ongoing debate around the concept of food security.

What is Food Insecurity?

Food insecurity is a term that refers to the lack of access to enough food to lead a healthy life for all members in a household. Households that suffer from food insecurity are not necessarily insecure all the time but they often find themselves having to make trade offs to meet important basic needs. There are many characteristics that households with low food security share including worry that they will run out of food, skipping meals, not being able to afford to buy food, and more.

Hunger and Food Insecurity in the United States

  • Food insecurity and poverty are very closely related although poverty is only one of many factors in the United States that is associated with food insecurity.
  • There are more than forty eight million Americans living in food insecure households; this figure includes more than fifteen million children and more than thirty two million adults.
  • US households where families have children are at a higher risk of food insecurity than those without children.
  • More than five million seniors were reported to be food insecure in 2013.
  • Food insecurity exists not only in certain areas but in every single county in America.
  • According to studies, the state of Mississippi has the highest percentage of food insecure households.

Food Assistance Programs

The United States federal government as well as local state governments offer various food assistance programs. Some of these programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC. There is also the National School Lunch Program, or NSLP. While there are food assistance programs can be incredibly helpful, it can still be difficult for families living in poverty to maintain a healthy, and nutritious diet.

There continues to be work done to try and help end the problem of hunger and food insecurity in both the United States and other countries around the world. In addition to government funded programs, there are many charities and other organizations that work tirelessly in the fight to end hunger.

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