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Food Insecurity and Food Deserts

Food Insecurity and Food Deserts are terms used in the news to describe society’s status with food.

What is Food Insecurity?

Food Insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to adequate food. Two questions are asked to determine if people are at risk for Food Insecurity:

  1. Within the past 12 months, did you worry whether your food would run out before you got money to buy more?
  2. Within the past 12 months, the food you bought just didn’t last, and you didn’t have money to get more.

If a person answers “often true” or “sometimes true” to either or both statements, the person is at risk for food insecurity.

What is a Food Desert?

The caption on the picture (attached) would say: “Food Deserts are throughout South Carolina in rural and urban settings.”

“Food Deserts are throughout South Carolina in rural and urban settings.”
Ellie Lane, @2020 Clemson Extension

Food Deserts can occur in rural and urban areas. A food desert is identified when a person lives more than 1 mile from a large grocery store in urban areas. In rural areas, a food desert is when a person lives 10 or more miles to the nearest grocery store. Healthy food with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables is difficult to find in many places in the United States. The consequences of living in a food desert include an increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

Resources for Food Insecurity and Food Deserts

USDA National Hunger Hotline- 1-866-3-HUNGER or 1-866-348-6479 (available in English and Spanish). This hotline can direct a person to information about Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program (NSLP)

USDA Food Desert Locator: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/go-to-the-atlas.aspx#.UUDJLTeyL28

Sources

  1. Addressing Food Insecurity: A Toolkit for Pediatricians. (n.d.). Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://frac.org/aaptoolkit
  2. Examining the Food Retail Choice Context in Urban Food Deserts, Ohio, 2015. (2017, October 05). Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2017/16_0408.htm
  3. Growing Food & Opportunities in South Carolina: Economic and Community Development through Healthy Food Access. (2013, January). Retrieved August 18, 2020, from http://www.scfoodaccess.com/uploads/2/3/0/2/23029886/growing_food_and_opportunities_in_sc_report.pdf

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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