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How COVID-19 Affects Home Food Security




The rapid outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) caused a pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Pandemics have destroyed lives and livelihoods around the world and have killed more than 4.94 million people worldwide so far. In addition, catastrophic economic consequences are serious about food insecurity, defined as the constant lack of physical and financial access to sufficient, safe and nutritious foods to lead an active and healthy life. It had a great influence.

New research published in bioRxiv* The preprint server investigates changes in household food insecurity during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. To do this, researchers tracked the Vermonters cohort and examined sociodemographic features that correlate with an increased probability of experiencing food insecurity.

Food insecurity

Food insecurity is usually closely linked to unemployment, poverty and food prices. During the pandemic, additional factors contribute to food insecurity, such as safety concerns about shopping in stores, limited time at food retail stores, and changing access to public transport. In addition, food insecurity is associated with a variety of adverse physical and mental health effects, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression. In households with children, food insecurity is also associated with adverse educational and behavioral consequences.

Previous studies have shown increased food insecurity in the United States during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data in these reports were used to devise new policies to reduce household distress. These policies included stimulus checks, increased unemployment insurance, and increased flexibility in federal food aid programs. However, cohort studies, which are less common in the literature, are very important for understanding the changing food insecurity of the same individual / household. Current research aims to address this gap in the literature.

New research

Researchers conducted three online surveys of a cohort of Vermont residents (441 adults) between March 2020 and March 2021. Longitudinal data on food safety, food access, and work interruptions were collected. Food security was measured using USDA’s 6-item module.

The main purpose of this survey was to answer three survey questions. First, what was the trajectory of food insecurity in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic? Second, what socio-demographic factors and life experiences were associated with an increased probability of experiencing food insecurity during the study period? Third, what factors, if any, contributed to recovery from food insecurity?

Main results

This study was long-term and recorded a statistically significant increase in food insecurity during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The prevalence of food insecurity decreased in March 2021, but the prevalence was still higher than pre-pandemic levels compared to the first pandemic month.

Changes in the use of food aid programs during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.  P-EBT did not exist before the pandemic.  * Statistically significant difference (p ≤ 0.05)

Changes in the use of food aid programs during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. P-EBT did not exist before the pandemic. * Statistically significant difference (p ≤ 0.05)

This finding is consistent with most other studies, with the exception of a recent government report that found no change in the overall prevalence of food insecurity in 2020 compared to 2019.

Researchers also include specific demographic groups such as women, young individuals, BIPOC / Hispanic respondents, non-university degree people, low-income households (less than US $ 50,000 per year), and one or more households. Children who have shown that they are more likely to experience food insecurity, and individuals who have experienced work disruptions.

These results have profound implications for physical and mental health. It can also affect the short-term and long-term persistent distress of certain ethnic minorities.

Further research is needed to understand how food insecurity during a pandemic affected dietary quality and health, especially among certain high-risk sociodemographic groups.

The results also show that 32.6% of households with food insecurity do not use the federal food aid program and 40.5% of respondents who report unemployment during the pandemic have unemployment insurance. I did.

These findings show why such a significant increase in food insecurity and a continued higher prevalence were observed at the onset of the pandemic.

Other factors, such as social stigma and administrative burdens associated with the use of food assistance programs, may have contributed to increased food insecurity. These barriers are not well documented in the literature and require further research on this topic.

Surprisingly, the results suggested that federal support did not necessarily alleviate food insecurity when managing other demographic factors.


Two limitations of this study were the small sample size and the treatment of food insecurity as a dual result. Federal support programs do not necessarily get households out of food insecurity, but they may have reduced the severity of their distress. In future studies, scientists will use this longitudinal dataset to help federal and community food aid programs and unemployment allowances reduce food insecurity while treating it as a continuum. I am planning to investigate the data.

*Important Notices

medRxiv publishes unpeer-reviewed preliminary scientific reports and should not be considered definitive, guide clinical / health-related behaviors, or be treated as established information.





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