Food Insecurity : The Lack Of Access For Enough Food For Adequate Nutrition

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Brittany Errington 08-12-2015 GPH 722 Research Paper What is it? Food insecurity is defined as “the lack of access to enough food to ensure adequate nutrition.”1 The Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) reported that 14.6% of US households were food insecure during at least some portion of 2008 (up 11.1% from 2007), the highest levels recorded since monitoring began in 1995.2 Food insecurity is a concern of under consumption and obesity is a disease of over consumption, yet both outcomes may coexist, seemingly incongruously, within the same household.2 The most popular explanation is that low-cost, energy-dense foods linked to obesity are favored by financially constrained households, who are the most likely to be food insecure.2 Another theory, focusing on environmental context net of individual circumstance, argues that obesity and insecurity are both symptoms of malnutrition, occurring in neighborhoods where nutritious foods are unavailable or unaffordable.2 A separate literature researches environmental roles in poor nutritional outcomes, recent studies link obesity as well as atherosclerosis and diabetes to the food environment, the local context of available food items.2 The theory is that local inaccessibility to healthy foods influences diet composition, a claim supported by evidence.2 Especially in poorer neighborhoods, food options are often limited to fast food restaurants, convenience stores, or grocery stores more poorly stocked both in

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