Food Security

Definition

Food security means having safe and reliable access to an appropriate amount of nutritious food at an affordable price. In order to have the ability to maintain a healthy diet, individuals and their families must feel secure in their ability to buy healthy foods.

Entire communities experience food insecurity at a macro level, sometimes referred to as food apartheid. Food apartheid results from political and economic decisions rooted in structural racism, which have inequitably led to long-term disinvestment in primarily low-income communities and communities of color. These communities lack the local economic power to maintain grocery stores and are instead bombarded with junk and fast foods.

Disparities

  • National average of households experiencing food insecurity: 10.9%.¹
  • Black households experiencing food insecurity: 21.8%.¹
  • Hispanic households experiencing food insecurity:19.5%.¹
  • White households experiencing food insecurity: 7.8%.¹
  • A multistate study found that 8% of African Americans live in a tract with a supermarket, compared to 31% of whites.²

Connection Across Determinants

Socioeconomic Status:

  • Low-income zip codes have 30% more convenience stores, which tend to lack healthy items compared to wealthier zip codes.

Gender:

  • Single mothers are more likely to experience food insecurity at 35.1%.³
  • Women in food insecure household have an increased risk of depression and anxiety disorders.
  • Women in food insecure households are 30% more likely to be overweight than women in food secure households.

Ethnicity:

  • For many, it is also important to consider access to foods that are culturally sensible to truly allow individuals to eat healthy.

Resources


  1. Food Insecurity, Children, and Race. http://join.nokidhungry.org/site/DocServer/Food_Insecurity_as_it_relates_to_Race_and_Ethnicity.pdf. Accessed June 19, 2017.
  2. Beebe R. The Grocery Gap: Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why it Matters. May 2017. http://www.kintera.org/atf/cf/%7B97C6D565-BB43-406D-A6D5-ECA3BBF35AF0%7D/FINALGroceryGap.pdf. Accessed May 12, 2017.
  3. Smith M. Gender and Food Insecurity: The Burden on Poor Women. https://www.socwomen.org/wp-content/uploads/Fact-Sheet-Gender-and-Food-Insec..pdf. Published 2012. Accessed June 21, 2017.