Millions of Americans can’t afford to eat healthy food. They have no choice but to stretch their weekly paycheck by buying inexpensive, highly processed, nutritionally depleted foods for themselves and their families – increasing their risk of developing life-threatening diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to a meal is proven to provide the nutrition needed to help prevent and manage these diseases.
-“In 2016, approximately 52.9 Billion in healthcare costs were associated with food insecurity among American adults and children.”
The excess total healthcare cost associated with food insecurity is $1,607 per food insecure adult in Arkansas.
-According to a UAMS study published in the journal of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which surveyed 357 food pantries representing 5 food banks across Arkansas, found only 18.5% of food pantries had written nutrition guidelines, and only 19.3% offered client choice distribution. (Christopher R. Long, PhD; Marie-Rachelle Narcisse, PhD; Brett Rowland, MA; Bonnie Faitak, MEd; Caitlin E. Caspi, ScD; Joel Gittelsohn, PhD; Pearl A. McElfish, PhD)
-Fresh fruits and vegetables were only offered consistently by less than 20% of food pantries.
**(2212-2672/Copyright ª 2020 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.)
-For every 1,000 calories in their FAH total purchases, food-insecure households acquire less total fruit, whole fruit, total protein, and seafood and plant protein compared to food-secure households.
-Food-insecure households have significantly higher probabilities of purchasing no fruit, no dairy, and no protein foods for FAH than food-secure households. Food-insecure households also have a higher probability of having a zero score for refined grains, meaning that they purchase more refined grains per 1,000 calories than is recommended by dietary guidance.
According to Feeding America’s Map The Meal Gap study updated in 2018, there are 521,490 food insecure adults in Arkansas. In addition, Arkansas is ranked 3rd worst in Child Food Insecurity at 23% of children considered food insecure. Countless families in rural areas are struggling to find consistent healthy food options. Many barriers such as poverty, location, and lack of nutrition education cause families to stay stuck in patterns of poor health and hunger.