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Open AccessArticle

Food Insecurity and COVID-19: Disparities in Early Effects for US Adults

1
Department of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
2
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(6), 1648; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061648
Received: 15 May 2020 / Revised: 28 May 2020 / Accepted: 29 May 2020 / Published: 2 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition among Vulnerable Populations)
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased food insecurity in the United States (US). The objective of this study was to understand the early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic among low-income adults in the US as social distancing measures began to be implemented. On 19–24 March 2020 we fielded a national, web-based survey (53% response rate) among adults with <250% of the federal poverty line in the US (N = 1478). Measures included household food security status and COVID-19-related basic needs challenges. Overall, 36% of low-income adults in the US were food secure, 20% had marginal food security, and 44% were food insecure. Less than one in five (18.8%) of adults with very low food security reported being able to comply with public health recommendations to purchase two weeks of food at a time. For every basic needs challenge, food-insecure adults were significantly more likely to report facing that challenge, with a clear gradient effect based on severity of food security. The short-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are magnifying existing disparities and disproportionately affecting low-income, food-insecure households that already struggle to meet basic needs. A robust, comprehensive policy response is needed to mitigate food insecurity as the pandemic progresses. View Full-Text
Keywords: covid-19; food insecurity; low-income adults; disparities; survey covid-19; food insecurity; low-income adults; disparities; survey
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Wolfson, J.A.; Leung, C.W. Food Insecurity and COVID-19: Disparities in Early Effects for US Adults. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1648.

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