U.S. Food and Nutrition Policy Across the Life Course.
Routledge Press, December 2020
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 11.1 percent of households were food insecure in 2018. During the COVID era, food insufficiency, a measure indicating households that sometimes or often do not have enough food, increased threefold from 3.4 percent in 2019 to 10.8 percent in July 2020. Among Black adults, nearly 20 percent reported food insufficiency. In response to the prevalence of food insecurity at particular ages and its negative consequences for a range of life-course outcomes, the USDA has created a patchwork of food and nutrition programs that together reach one in four Americans annually.
The author first provides an overview of the prevalence of food insecurity by age. Then, the author provides a brief summary of the food programs that are currently available in the United States and discusses how the life-course perspective can inform future policy and research. While food and nutrition policy currently spans the life course in the sense that federal food assistance is available from cradle to grave, it is not necessarily informed by a coherent life-course perspective. A coherent set of food policies informed by the life-course perspective would pay more attention to the three transition points discussed, as well as the complexity of modern families and the realities of inter- and intra-household food practices. However, this policy failure also stems from limitations in the extant research due to data limitations.
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