Food Security and Nutrition

In recent years, as hunger and obesity prevention efforts have taken the national stage by way of political and celebrity champions like First Lady Michelle Obama, actor Jeff Bridges, and chefs Tom Colicchio and Jamie Oliver, terminology such as “food insecurity”, “food hardship”, and “food deserts” have entered the public lexicon. As defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), food insecurity is indicated by “disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake” necessary to maintain an active and healthy life, which is ultimately determined by the availability of adequate quantities of food and the abilities to access, utilize, and prepare food. Consequently, an outcome of food insecurity is the physiological condition of hunger: “the prolonged and involuntary lack of food that results in discomfort, illness, weakness, or pain.”