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Editorial: New USDA study shows need for adequate food

In a recent study released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 10.6 percent of Minnesota households are “food insecure,” meaning their access to adequate food is limited by lack of money and other resources.

While most households have consistent, dependable access to enough food for active, healthy living, many do not.

The Hubbard County Food Shelf can attest to the need for food by many in the area. In recent years, the food shelf has continued to see increased usage among residents in our area.

Across the nation, the USDA study found that in 2012, 85.5 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the year. The remaining 14.5 percent (17.6 million households) were food insecure. Food-insecure households (those with low and very low food security) had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources.

The change from the 2011 estimate (14.9 percent) was not statistically significant, meaning that the difference may be due to sampling variation. The prevalence of food insecurity has been essentially unchanged since 2008.

In 2012, 5.7 percent of U.S. households (7.0 million households) had very low food security. In Minnesota, that percentage was 4.8 percent.

In this more severe range of food insecurity, the food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year due to limited resources. The prevalence of very low food security was unchanged from 2011.

Children were food insecure at times during the year in 10 percent of households with children. These 3.9 million households were unable at times during the year to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children. The percentage of households with food-insecure children was unchanged from 2011.

Many of us don’t think twice about having enough food to eat but some make difficult choices regarding food.

Our local food shelf can help families that are “food insecure” and we want to ensure that this option continues to be available.

Checks to the Hubbard County Food Shelf may be mailed to 308 Pleasant Ave., Park Rapids, MN 56470.