Lack of access to nutritious food is negatively impacting the health of children and adults in the United States, and both healthcare providers and lawmakers need to step up to solve the problem, according to a position paper from the American College of Physicians (ACP), published on June 28 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Strengthening access to good nutrition is a public health imperative, as we know that food insecurity is associated with worse mental and physical health, worse health outcomes, and an increased risk of diet-related illnesses and health conditions,” said the ACP’s president, Ryan Mire, MD, a practicing physician and an assistant professor of clinical medicine education at the University of Tennessee in Nashville, in a video statement accompanying the paper.

According to the paper, making sure that everyone is able to feed themselves a healthy diet, with dignity, is an important component of a just society, and the United States has a moral and public health imperative to address food insecurity.

What Is Food Insecurity?

In a food insecure household, members are uncertain of having enough food to meet their needs because there isn’t enough money or other resources necessary to acquire food. It’s estimated that about 1 in 10 households — 13.8 million — were food insecure at some point during 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).


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