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Food insecurity a local and national problem

Jan 04, 2024 12:55 am

Liz Montgomery reports for Porcupine Soup that a report released Jan. 3 by the New York State Department of Health found that approximately one in four adults in New York experienced food insecurity in 2021. Food insecurity is the percentage of adults who say that they were always, usually, or sometimes worried about having enough money to buy nutritious meals in the past 12 months. The numbers locally were better than the statewide figure of 24.9 percent. Greene County is listed at 16.6 percent, Columbia County at 12.3 percent, Delaware County at 18.6 percent, Ulster County at 13.4 percent, and Albany County at 21.3 percent. State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, "Hunger stresses the body and mind, and can result in malnutrition, inability to concentrate, anxiety, and depression.... In addition, adults who experience food insecurity are more likely to report chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and cancer.” The results are from during the COVID-19 pandemic. More recent local data is not available, but the Census Bureau’s November 2023 Household Pulse Survey found that nearly 28 million people in the U.S. reported experiencing food scarcity this past October, which was the highest number recorded by the survey since December of 2020. Read more about this story in Porcupine Soup.