Many barriers for families with eating problems, according to survey
Many Americans who have struggled to feed their families in the last few years of the pandemic struggle to understand how they can get help and struggle to find healthy foods they can buy, I say I did it.
Survey Impact genome When Associated Press-NORC Public Relations Research Center Twenty-three percent of Americans say they couldn’t get enough food and the type of food they needed. Most people faced Food challenges After signing up for government or nonprofit food assistance programs in the past year, 58% still had difficulty accessing at least one service.
In addition, 21% of adults faced with the challenge of meeting the demand for food received no support. The most common challenge for those in need was the lack of basic knowledge of eligibility for government and nonprofit services.
The poll results give a full picture of a country where hundreds of thousands of households have suddenly entered. Food insecurity Due to the economic turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic. They often navigated the intimidating bureaucracy of government sponsored programs and found they had limited knowledge of local food banks and other charitable options available.
Polls show that black and Hispanic Americans, Americans living below the federal poverty line, and young adults are particularly vulnerable to food problems.
Americans who have trouble purchasing food are also less confident in their ability to get their food than others. healthy food.. Only 27% say they are “very” or “very” confident, compared to 87% of those who do not have food problems.
For Acacia Baraza, a housewife in Los Lunas, a rural town on the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the challenge was to provide a stable supply of fresh fruits and vegetables to her two-year-old son within the limits of the household budget.
Baraza, 34, quit her job as a waitress before the pandemic when her son was born. She considered returning to work, but said the intermittent lack of childcare made it impossible as the pandemic had set in. The family lives off her husband’s salary as a mechanic with the support of SNAP (a government program commonly known as food stamps).
Despite government backing, Baraza was quick to find an affordable source of fresh vegetables and aggressively scoured local markets for bargains like $ 2.99 bags of fresh spinach. Says that.
“If we don’t always have vegetables, he won’t want to eat them in the future, and he gets enough vitamins from the vegetables for his growing body in the future or now. I’m afraid I can’t do it. It is really difficult. It is really difficult. “
Even those who have not lost their income during the pandemic find that they increase their food dollars at the end of the month. Trelesia Mornes, of Fort Worth, Texas, works as a customer service representative over the phone, allowing her to work from home without interruption.
She earns a lot of money to qualify for the SNAP program, but not enough to support her family.
Fearing the COVID-19 epidemic at school, she decided to bring her three children home for distance education. Therefore, lunch at school was excluded from the equation. Due to her professional responsibilities, she will not be able to receive the free lunch offered by the school district. She lives with them and cares for her disabled siblings who benefit from SNAP. But $ 284 a month “lasts for about a week and a half,” Mornes said.
They try to eat healthy, but due to budget concerns, they may come to prioritize cost and longevity with “canned soups, maybe noodles, sustainable and cheaper.”
Radha Muthiah, president of the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, said the struggle reflected in the polls is evidence of a new phenomenon caused by the pandemic. Government support program.
“It’s completely new to them,” she said. “Many people and families, especially those experiencing food insecurity for the first time, don’t know all of their options. “
Many are reluctant to get directly involved in government programs such as SNAP and WIC. It is a parallel government food aid program that supports mothers and children. Mutia said reluctance often stems from frustration with paperwork or the risk of compromising their immigration status or green card application within the immigrant community.
Overall, about one in eight Americans regularly stock up at convenience stores that offer less nutritious foods at higher prices, according to surveys. The experience is more common among Americans with dietary issues, with one in five frequenting convenience stores.
Addiction to grocery store It’s a particularly tricky dynamic, Mutia said, because the options there are more expensive and generally less nutritious. Some of the problems are just habits, but the much bigger problem is the lack of suitable grocery stores in the “food deserts” that exist in the poor neighborhoods of many cities.
“Sometimes they’re the only quick and efficient option for many people to get food,” she said. “But they don’t get everything they need from convenience stores, which has a lot of negative health consequences.”
According to surveys, half of Americans with food problems say they need the extra money to help pay for food and bills to meet the demand for food.
Those who consider reliable transportation, free food sufficient to last for several days, such as emergency food packages, or free school meals and side dishes, are the resources to meet their dietary needs. Few, but the majority say these are useful.
Gerald Ortiz of Spain, New Mexico, bought a 2019 Chevrolet pickup truck before the pandemic and lost the office job he held for the next 20 years. Today he struggles and pays $ 600 a month, and thanks to charity he has managed to just eat less. Her unemployment benefit ended this month.
“Make sure the truck is paid for,” said Ortiz, sitting in a line of about 30 cars waiting to be picked up. food From the Barrios Unidos charity in the nearby town of Chimayo. “Then I eat like once a day,” he said, pointing to his stomach. “That’s why you see me very thin now.”
He applied for multiple jobs and survived on all the produce (peppers, onions, cucumbers, watermelons) that can be grown in charities and backyards.
“It sounds depressing. It’s like stress and I’m anxious, ”he said. “Likewise, I can’t wait to find a job. I don’t care what it is now.
An AP-NORC survey of 2,233 adults was conducted August 5-23 using samples taken from the AmeriSpeak probability-based NORC panel designed to represent the US population. All respondents have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.
© 2021 AP communication. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Quote: Many Obstacles for Families with Feeding Problems, the Vote Show (September 24, 2021), https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-09-hurdles-families-food-poll.html to 2021 Obtained on September 24
This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for fair dealing for the purposes of personal investigation or research. The content is provided for informational purposes only.