Food Insecurity Declined in 2021 Versus 2019 in Low-Income Adults

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Greater decrease in food insecurity seen among the subset of individuals receiving SNAP benefits

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 2, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Among low-income adults, food insecurity decreased in 2021 compared with prepandemic levels, according to a study published online Jan. 2 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Aaron L. Troy, M.D., M.P.H., from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues examined changes in food insecurity among low-income adults over the course of the pandemic using data from the National Health Interview Survey. The year 2019 was included as a prepandemic reference for both the 2021 and 2022 cycles. The unweighted sample included 25,127 low-income U.S. adults; 16,518 of these adults had diet-sensitive chronic conditions.

The researchers found that from 2019 to 2021, there was a decrease in food insecurity among low-income adults, from 20.6 to 15.5 percent, followed by a return to prepandemic levels in 2022 (20.1 percent). In a subset receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, food insecurity decreased from 34.6 to 21.6 percent in 2019 and 2021, and remained lower in 2022 (27.0 percent). Among low-income adults without SNAP benefits, changes in food insecurity were more modest, from 15.4 to 12.9 and 16.9 percent in 2019, 2021, and 2022, respectively.

“Our finding that food insecurity improved most among SNAP beneficiaries (who had greater prepandemic food insecurity) highlights the importance of financial relief and nutritional benefits, particularly in this more vulnerable group,” the authors write.

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