Ohio State Capital research

US, Columbus: 1 in 3 people lacks access to healthy food

Food insecurity in the United States seems to be worse than suspected. Researchers from Ohio State University have found that nearly one-third of households in Columbus, Ohio have difficulty getting enough food or obtaining healthy food.

Lower income families have limited access to quality food, and sometimes don't even have enough to eat. Often they rely on food banks and other sources for food. For the study, the researchers surveyed more than 650 households in an economically and racially diverse area in Columbus, the state capital.

"Almost a third of the households were food insecure, and more than 16 percent had very low food security. This means they were skipping meals, at risk for experiencing hunger and probably missing work and school, and suffering health problems as a result," lead author Michelle Kaiser said in a university news release. "Previous estimates based on county-level census data would have indicated about half as many households were subject to this situation.”

According to health.usnews.com, the survey also found that 26 percent of households were not satisfied with their ability to buy food easily. Twenty-seven percent said it was hard to find fresh fruits and vegetables, though 86 percent said good nutrition was "important" or "very important".

Along with going to supermarkets, most people in the study regularly shopped for food at other stores close to home. Among those with food insecurity, many went to corner stores, drug stores and other places with limited food offerings, especially fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods.

While this study was conducted in Columbus, the findings likely apply to other U.S. cities, Kaiser added.

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