Sarah Pittman, BS Graduate Student in Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
What is Food Insecurity?
Many people think of food insecurity as a person being hungry, but hunger and food insecurity are different in definition. Since hunger can be difficult to measure, the USDA measures food insecurity instead of hunger.
Food insecurity is defined as a person not being able to obtain enough food in sufficient quantity and/or quality.
Who is Food Insecure?
In 2018, 11.1% of Americans are food insecure. Although this may not sound like a lot, 11.1% equates to 14.3 million people. As such it is recognized as a major health crisis.
What is the Impact of COVID-19 on Food Insecurity?
Now with the coronavirus, people are being laid off of work. With over 17 million Americans jobless right now, income is limited for many people and the food insecurity rate has increased dramatically.
Prior to the pandemic, food insecurity was estimated to be a big problem in 2020 due to global warming and the economic crises. Now, with a global pandemic on top of the mix, the impact is unbelievable. One article stated that there were 135 million people globally suffering from food insecurity in 55 countries. That number is expected to double due to the coronavirus.
What Can Be Done to Address Food Insecurity?
Many people are trying to pitch in to help people in need. Some schools are still trying to get food to their students, especially the ones who are already on the school lunch program.
Food pantries are also trying to help as much as possible but with reduced intake of inventory and reduced volunteer workers, it has been hard to keep up with the demand.
Food insecurity was already considered a major health crisis in the United States and then the pandemic resulted in layoffs for many individuals. The food insecurity rate was sure to increase as a result. Thankfully our country is coming together to help each other out in these uncertain times.
Welsh T. WFP chief warns of ‘hunger pandemic’ as COVID-19 threatens food security. Devex. www.devex.com/news/wfp-chief-warns-of-hunger-pandemic-as-covid-19-threatens-food-security-97058. Published 2020. Accessed April 24, 2020.
Feedingamerica.org www.feedingamerica.org/sites/default/files/2020-04/Brief_Impact%20of%20Covid%20on%20Food%20Insecurity%204.22%20%28002%29.pdf. Published 2020. Accessed April 24, 2020.
Unemployment claims near 17 million in three weeks as coronavirus ravages. POLITICO. www.politico.com/news/2020/04/09/coronavirus-unemployment-claims-numbers-176794. Published 2020. Accessed April 27, 2020.
Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels.