Many low-income households in the United States are foodinsecure. This review will discuss food insecurity and the health effects fromthat in both children and adults. It will also address the different programs(including The Food Stamp Program) low-income, food insecure households may receive and whetheror not they are effective in relieving some conditions of being food insecure.Althoughlow-income households might receive assistance from programs such as the FoodStamp Program, WIC, community driven food banks and soup kitchens, and/ orschool breakfast programs, it still may be unhealthy.
Research found thatpeople with cardio metabolic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, andstroke who live in low-income households are very unhealthy (Berkowitz,Berkowitz, Meigs, Wexler, 6/7/2017). This is because many times the foodassistance that they do receive does not fit into their special diet and theyare burdened by the cost of medications and treatments. In the article, Trendsin food insecurity for adults with cardio metabolic disease in the UnitedStates, they pulled data from the national Health and Nutrition Examination Survey(NHANES) from the years between 2005-2012, analyzing food insecurity for peoplein the same age group who have cardio metabolic disease and those who don’t.Comparing the two groups they came to the conclusion that food insecurity wasgreater in people receiving assistance with cardio metabolic disease. Thisshows that the quality of food that the participants are receiving is of poorquality, because cardio metabolic disease is prevented and managed through dietand nutrition.
Nutrition isn’t just important to people with diagnosedhealth problems, but also to children. Children go through crucial times ofdevelopment and need well balanced nutrition in order to support this growth.In the article, Food Insecurity and Iron Deficiency Anemia in low-incomeinfants and toddlers in the United States, they gathered data from BostonMedical Center’s Pediatric Emergency Department between June of 1996 and May of2001. This is where caregivers of the children were interviewed as part of theChildren’s Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program.
If one of the childrenalready had a pre-diagnosis that was known to increase the likelihood of anemiathen they would be excluded from the research (Skalicky, et. al, 3/2006). Theresults overall were that caregiversreported child food insecurity at 10.4 %, reported reduced diet quality at7.8%, and reported child hunger at 2.6%. OF these children 61% were ISNA (ironsufficient-no anemia), 21% had Anemia without having iron deficiency, 7%wereIDNA (iron deficient-no anemia), and lastly 11% had IDA (iron deficient withanemia) (Skalicky et. al, 3/2006).
With these results it shows again as withthe cardio metabolic participants, that the quality and quantity of the food providedthrough assistance programs need to be greater. The problem is that WIC and theFood Stamp program are designed to aid the low-income families food needs, notsupport it completely. Children are also becoming overweight as a result of lessplay and overeating, or eating the wrong types of foods.
In the article,Poverty, Food Programs, and Childhood Obesity, they used data from the 11997Child Development Supplement and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Theweights and income were compared and this is what the article showed inresults: Children who participated in the school food programs may have agreater chance of being overweight; also the children who ate the schoolprovided hot lunches had a greater Body Mass Index and if the child ate thebreakfast and the hot lunch then their BMI was the highest (Hofferth, Curtin,2005). One thing to consider is that many of the programs available do not givemany foods to people that are packed full of vitamins and minerals, usually theopposite.
So when a family is seeking out help from multiple places they getaccess to a lot of poor quality foodsthat leave one feeling hungry and overeating occurs which can lead to beingoverweight. One drawback of this article is that it did not factor in the USDAand states trying to improve quality of the meals provided in school breakfastsand lunches (Hofferth, Curtin, 2005). Although the school breakfast program maycause a child to become overweight depending on other factors (such as receivingfood from community food drive, foodbanks, etc). In the article, The School Breakfast Program Strengthens householdFood Security among Low-Income Households with Elementary School Children, theycompared students who received the School breakfast program to those who didnot receive it. The results were that this program is really efficient atreducing Food Insecurity conditions ( such as cutting size of meal to stretchout food, skipping meals, worrying about food running out before next paycheck)in low-income households (Bartfield, Ahn, 1/12/2011). The article, Food Insecurity and Programs to alleviateit: What we know and what we have yet to learn, uses the food security module,Current Population Survey (CPS), whichhas 18 questions related to household experiences and food insecurity.
Withthis it was found that many households that are food insecure are householdswith single mothers as head of household with low education, African Americanand Hispanic ethnicity pose a high risk of having afood insecure household.This article also shows that food insecurity is related to low or poor qualityof nourishment and is associated with many health problems (Duffy, Zizza 2016). Three articles address food insecurity and The Food StampProgram. The first article is, Food Insecurity and The Food Stamp Program,which pulled data from CPS regarding all income information (like net frombusiness, pensions, interest, etc.
). The data showed that the food stampqualifications affect if someone will participate in the program which willaffect the food insecurity in that household. Say they make one hundred dollarsmore than can be accepted, they will either work less so they can become arecipient in The food Stamp Program, or they will not receive food stamps andno change will happen regarding that households food insecurity. The secondarticle, The impact of The Food Stamp Program Participation on Household FoodInsecurity, shows that it too shows evidence that head of households that aresingle women, nonwhites, unemployed and/ or have multiple children are of ahigher risk of being food insecure. Another point it makes is that head ofhouseholds that are addicted to something like cigarettes or alcohol are morelikely to spend money on those items before spending money to provide food forthe household, so this is another risk of becoming a household with foodinsecurity. The data was pulled from the 1999 Panel Study of Income Dynamics,which groups households into three categories: food secure, marginally foodsecure, and food insecure. Lastly the third article is, How much does thesupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program reduce Food Insecurity, and it usesthe nationally found SIPP dataset covering from the end of the 1990s to 2005.
It shows that the households who participate in The Food Stamp Program wouldhave a food insecurity level that would be 16.2 % points higher, if Food StampProgram wasn’t there to aid them. This also suggests that The Food Stamp Programreduces food insecurity by 31.2%. It is a good idea for the administrators incharge of the Food Stamp Program to be aware of the great need for this serviceand maybe revise the qualifications so more low-income households can alsolower their risk of becoming food insecure (Ratcliffe, Mckernan, Zhang, 7/2011).