Food insecurity is an increasing problem that occurs “whenever the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or the ability to acquire acceptable food in a socially acceptable way, is limited or is uncertain” (Bazerghi 732). More people are experiencing a lack of food and the services that provide food for food insecure families. Food insecurity affects families that struggle financially, live in low income areas, and cannot commute to food aid services. Food insecurity can become very harmful to an individual. Food insecurity is most harmful to children because “their nutrition affects not only their current health, but also their physical, mental, and social development—and thus their future health and well-being” (Coleman-Jensen iv). Many children who are food insecure experience physical effects such as hunger pain, less energy, and weaker bones. The child’s body is not receiving enough nutrition in order for their body to develop properly and can cause multiple health issues in the future. Children who are food insecure are less focused, have lower mental proficiency, and impaired non-cognitive skills. These negative affects affect the behavior of the child and can cause problems around groups of people in school or public. Although children are most affected because they are still developing, these same consequences affect the mental and physical health of teenagers and adults.
Food insecurity can affect anyone, but research has shown that some households are more likely to be more food insecure than others. A study conducted showed that “Households with lower incomes and households headed by an African American or Hispanic person, a never-married person, a divorced or separated person, a renter, a younger person, or a less-educated person are all more likely to be food insecure than their respective counterparts. In addition, households with children are more likely to be food insecure than those without” (Gundersen 1831). People who are younger, less educated, and dependent on themselves are more likely to become food insecure. These people typically make a lower income because the only income of the household is obtained from one person. In addition, people who are younger and less educated have a harder time getting and making time for a job. Children under the age of fifteen are not old enough to get a job and cannot earn enough to buy food. Households with children have a larger number of people to feed and therefore need more money to purchase food.
Food insecurity is very relevant in society today and is in continual need of support. Society needs to advocate for the families who are food insecure because many families that are in need of assistance from supplements programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Program (Coleman-Jensen 34). It is important to work towards giving families in need this assistance because without these programs many families will continue to be malnourished and experience mental and physical health programs. Another prominent problem that food insecure families struggle with is the availability of food in food banks. Many food banks lack fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, meat, and other essential legumes (Bazerghi 737). Food insecure families that rely on food banks are not consuming enough whole foods to have a sustainable diet. A body cannot function properly without necessary vitamins and nutrients. Therefore, food insecure families are more likely to become malnourished or sick due to lack of healthier options.
Bazerghi, Chantelle, et al. “The Role of Food Banks in Addressing Food Insecurity: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Community Health, vol. 41, 2016, pp. 732-740. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s10900-015-0147-5.pdf.
Coleman-Jensen, Alisha, et al. “Food Insecurity in Households With Children.” United States Department of Agriculture, vol.113, 2013, pp. 1-60. https://tind-customer-agecon.s3.amazonaws.com/8fe69782-369f-4e99-848f-0478bcc928e4?response-content-disposition=attachment%3B%20filename%2A%3DUTF-8%27%2737672_eib-113.pdf&response-content-type=application%2Fpdf&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Expires=86400&X-Amz-Credential=AKIAXL7W7Q3XHXDVDQYS%2F20210302%2Feu-west-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Date=20210302T164700Z&X-Amz-Signature=cf4ef8ba89a7bd1f13cd976f0e5f7bdbd37a335f11d7a95b54a1aa0f81d4ae2f.
Gundersen, Craig, and James P. Ziliak. “Food Insecurity and Health Outcomes.” The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc., vol. 11, 2015, pp. 1830-1839. https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/pdf/10.1377/hlthaff.2015.0645.