Jackson, MS - Data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Economic Research Service reveals Mississippi leads the nation in low food security. Over the last decade, the number of Mississippi households experiencing low food security rose from 4.5 in 2004 to 22 percent between 2012 and 2014. This growth trend means that more than 1 in 5 Mississippi families are unable to provide quality, nutritious food so that everyone in the family is able to enjoy an active, healthy life. If current trends continue, this number to grow to 1 in 4 households. Nationally, more than 48.1-million Americans lived in households that were struggling against hunger in 2014, The 2014 numbers were a slight decline (of fewer than a million people) from 2013, with the rate declining from 15.8 to 15.4 percent.
Mississippians living with in households with low food security are unable provide enough quality, nutritious food for everyone in the family to ensure active, healthy lives. While many may not report significant disruptions to eating patterns or a reduced food intake, they remain at high risk for health related problems due to poor nutrition. Households living with very low food security experience many of the same issues in addition to disruptions to eating pattern and reduced food intake leading to hunger.
"While the national average has slightly declined, the number of food insecure households in Mississippi has risen," said Connecting Mississippi executive director, Warren Yoder. Luckily the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), administered under the MS Dept. of Human Services, is one of the more successful programs in the nation at ensuring the majority of eligible persons receive assistance. However, too many Mississippians are still left hungry. "Our nation can solve hunger. The federal nutrition programs, such as SNAP, are among the most effective tools in ensuring people of all ages get the food they need to be active and healthy. We're urging our political leaders to keep these programs strong, and that starts with a strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill this fall."
ABOUT THE USDA REPORT
The United States Department of Agriculture, using data from surveys conducted annually by the Census Bureau, has released estimates since 1995 of the number of people in households that are food insecure. Food insecure households are those that are not able to afford an adequate diet at all times in the past 12 months. The report also includes food insecurity rates for each state, but for states it uses three-year averages to give a better estimate of the number of households experiencing food insecurity.