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Food insecurity

Could you be food insecure?

To answer that question, it is important to know what food insecurity really means. What does “food insecurity” mean?

Being food insecure could mean one or both of the following:

When a person or family is not able to get quality food or a variety of foods.

Example: You are able to get chips, cookies, and unhealthy foods. You have enough to eat, so you are not hungry. But, you are not able to get healthier foods, like fruits, vegetables, and proteins.

When a person or family does not have enough food to eat regular meals, or they do not have enough food at each meal of the day.

Example: Some or all of the family members cannot eat lunch because there is not enough food. Or everyone gets some food to eat at each meal, but not enough to feel satisfied because there is not enough food for everyone.

How big is the problem?

chart

In 2015, 15.8 million U.S. households had food insecurity. That equals about 42.2 million people out of the 320 million people living in the United States in 2015. Source: www.ers.usda.gov

What does it mean for the 42.2 million people living with food insecurity?

Many of their days are faced with:

  • Worrying that the food they have will run out before they get money to buy more.
  • Trying to make the food they have last longer.
  • Cutting the size of their meals, or skipping meals because they don’t have money to buy more.
  • Losing weight because what they are eating just isn’t enough.

People with food insecurity reported themselves as having poorer health in general, both physically and mentally.

Food insecurity also increases the risk of certain health problems. People with food insecurity could be at higher risk for:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Depression
  • Higher BMI (body mass index)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Kidney disease

Could this be me and my family?

How do I know?

Here are two questions to ask yourself that will help you know if you and your family have food insecurity:

no

Within the past 12 months, have you worried whether your food would run out before you got money to buy more?

no

Within the past 12 months, did you find that the food you bought just didn’t last and you didn’t have money to buy more?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are food insecure.

Where do I go for help?

Please go to www.feedingpa.org/find-assistance to find information on:

  • Food banks in your area
  • Nutrition assistance programs like the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • National school breakfast and lunch programs and much more.