Food Security

Food security refers to families or individuals 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 alike experience food insecurity at a macro level often referred to as food apartheid, for a variety and combination of political-economic reasons rooted in structural racism by which lower income neighborhoods that are predominantly populated by people of color, disproportionately lack the local economic power to maintain grocery stores and are instead bombarded with access to junk and fast foods. The national average of households with food insecurity is 10.9%. Black households experience food insecurity at a rate of 21.8% and Hispanic households experience food insecurity at a rate of 19.5% while White households experienced food insecurity at a rate of 7.8%.(1) A multi-state study found that eight percent of African Americans live in a tract with a supermarket, compared to 31 percent of whites.(2) Low-income zip codes have 30 percent more convenience stores, which tend to lack healthy items compared to wealthier zip codes. The national average of food insecure households is 14.5% and single mothers are 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. For many, it is also important to consider access to foods that are culturally sensible to truly allow for individuals to be engaged in healthy eating.

  1. Food Insecurity, Children, and Race. Accessed June 19, 2017.
  2. Beebe R. The Grocery Gap: Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why it Matters. May 2017. Accessed May 12, 2017.
  3. Smith M. Gender and Food Insecurity: The Burden on Poor Women. Published 2012. Accessed June 21, 2017.