Food Hardship Harms All Mississippians

April 9th, 2013

According to a recent report from the Food Research Action Center, Mississippi is first on the list of the top 20 states for food hardship, with a food hardship rate of 24.6%. This rate was determined by asking households throughout the nation one simple question, “Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy the food that you, or your family, needed? In Mississippi, 24.6% of all households answered, “Yes.” The table below shows how Mississippi compares to other states in the Mid-South. 

  Mid-South States Have Top Food Hardship Rates

Why does this Matter to Mississippi?
Our society functions when we are all healthy and able to contribute. Food hardship is a problem that harms our children, working-age adults and seniors by impairing their health, learning and overall productivity. 

Sadly, our state’s leaders missed an opportunity to encourage the consumption of affordable healthy foods in underserved communities as House Bill 798 died in Conference in the House last Monday. 

As described in a previous blog post, studies have shown that rural communities face significant healthy food-access challenges. Additionally, adults living in rural Mississippi counties without supermarkets were 23% less likely to meet guidelines for daily fruit and vegetable consumption than adults living in counties with supermarkets[i].

Given the findings of this report, and Mississippi’s first place ranking, it is increasingly important that our leaders continue to support programs that help working families retain access to food while they work to make ends meet. 

Author: Francinia McKeithan Henry, Policy Analyst/ SFAI Policy Fellow

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