The USDA defines food security as having “access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.” Families may be considered food insecure if they:
- experience anxiety about having enough food in the house
- have to purchase lower quality, lower variety, or less desirable food
- have to eat less or less often
Research shows that hunger significantly affects a patient's physical health throughout the spectrum of life.
Unfortunately, when patients exhibit these symptoms health care providers rarely screen for hunger as an underlying cause or influencing factor. This may be due to a lack of education and understanding of the indicators and long-term implications of food insecurity. Follow the links below to learn more about food insecurity and validated screening tools.
Food Insecurity Research and Resources:
An overview of the issue of food insecurity and how to screen your patients compiled by Health Begins, a physician-led online platform dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health.
American Academy of Pediatrics' Policy Statement recommending food insecurity screening for all pediatric patients.
Toolkit developed by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics with steps for implementing food insecurity screening in the clinic as well as how to advocate for state and federal nutrition programs.
Toolkit developed by AARP that provides a rationale for the importance of food security screening older adults, offers suggestions on how to implement screening and referrals, and describes community partnerships that can help ensure that patients’ needs are addressed.
Website created by Feeding America intended to educate, connect, and engage cross-sector professionals on the intersections of food insecurity, nutrition, and health.
An interactive map of the United States with statistics on food insecurity rates and average meal costs by county.
Hear from families who have struggled with food insecurity.
Food Insecurity Screening Validation
The 2 USDA-designed food insecurity screening questions have been independently validated in this article originally published by Pediatrics.
HungerCare's Literature Review
Research pertaining to food insecurity risk factors, associated chronic illnesses, and evaluation compiled by UW-Extension's Poverty and Food Security Specialist, Amber Canto.
HungerCare's Food Security and Health Presentation
Presentation on food insecurity, its prevalence in Wisconsin, and its long-term effects on health written by UW-Extension's Poverty and Food Security Specialist, Amber Canto.