Before COVID-19 approximately 1 in 10 Montanans struggled with hunger, and nearly 37,000 Montana children lived in food insecure homes and it is believed that these numbers have increased since the epidemic started. Access to healthy food is vital to heart and brain health and that is why the American Heart Association is concerned about these numbers and is working to help address the problem.
You might be asking what is food insecurity?
I know it’s a term I hadn’t heard much before. The definition is: The inability to access food in a consistent manner, resulting in reduced quality or variety of diet.
hero_image_alt_text===a variety of vegetables all in a big pile
thumbnail_alt_text===a variety of vegetables all in a big pile
While food banks and federal nutrition programs have made severe hunger and malnutrition rare in this country, millions of low-income Americans are still faced with food insecurity.
There are many reasons we should be concerned about hunger and food insecurity in our state because it can have long lasting impacts including:
- Individuals experiencing food insecurity have increased rates of both physical and mental health challenges.
- Children struggling with hunger are more likely to have impaired cognitive development, lower math and reading scores, and higher rates of absenteeism.
- Food insecurity among seniors leads to a variety of health problems including an increased chance of being hospitalized, a worsening of chronic conditions, and a weakened immune system.
- Hunger also has a significant economic impact on our state due to preventable health care costs, lower educational attainment, and lost productivity in the workforce.
This issue is not an easy one to solve but we believe that the health of our communities is to important not to try. We hope we can count on your support as we work to address this issue.