Nation-wide Research Reveals Poverty to be Most Impactful to Consistent Food Access
Feeding America’s Annual Map the Meal Gap results released today show food insecurity continues to remain high in Northeast Tennessee . According to the newly released data, 14.8 percent of people in the area are food insecure, including 26,830 children. Nationally, 15.9% of people are considered food insecure according to the study which also shows results state by state. In Tennessee 17.1% of people are food insecure, above the national average.
Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as a socioeconomic condition of limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life. People with low food security say they are worried their food will run out, they cannot afford balanced meals, they cut the size of their meals or skipped meals.
“Studies like Map the Meal Gap 2014 allow Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee to continue to evaluate and adjust to the need in our area. The research data includes weekly food-budget shortfalls, demographics and poverty levels which help us define the social issues plaguing our area and work together as a community to find a solution. Local key findings show the average cost of a meal is $2.77 and the weekly food-budget shortfall is $534,330. This means that 72,580 individuals may be food insecure in Northeast Tennessee. The average number of people receiving food assistance from agencies and programs of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee is 40,000 per month.
Map the Meal Gap 2014 is a detailed analysis of food insecurity done by Feeding America and the only study available that provides county–level estimates of food insecurity in the United States. The information is provided in an interactive map that allows viewers to find out how widespread hunger is in their community. The map can be found at http://www.feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.
Research for the study was generously supported by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, ConAgra Foods Foundation and Nielsen.
“Hunger is a pervasive and solvable problem plaguing every corner of America today,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. “By continuing to provide extensive and revealing data like the 2014 Map the Meal Gap study, we will be able to tackle these issues head-on and be armed with the information needed to work towards making sure everyone has enough to eat.”
The Map the Meal Gap 2014 analysis was developed by Dr. Craig Gundersen for Feeding America. Food-insecurity rates are based on a state-level model that allows for the population in need of food at the county and congressional district level. Additionally, Feeding America worked in collaboration with Nielsen to arrive at estimates for food-cost variation by county. Results were reviewed by the Feeding America Technical Advisory Group in order to ensure accuracy and promote transparency.