SOURCE: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

September 28, 2017 13:00 ET

Food Insecurity Remains a Concern

New report points to need for multi-sector partnership and innovation

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - September 28, 2017) - Today, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) released a new report on the state of food insecurity in the county. More than half a million households earning less than 300% of the federal poverty level (FPL) are food insecure, which means many people face barriers purchasing nutritional foods at some time during the year. The report includes a series of recommendations for multi-sector partnership and innovation to increase access to healthy foods.

To address this persistent challenge, Public Health's Champions for Change-Healthy Communities Initiative partners with schools, faith-based institutions, hospitals, grocery stores, and worksites in low-income areas to create environments where healthier food options are more available. Public Health continues to work with partners on the following recommended strategies: increasing participation in CalFresh; enhancing nutrition standards in food pantries and meal programs; screening at health visits for food insecurity; increasing nutrition education dedicated to food resource management; reducing food waste by feeding hungry people; and supporting efforts to eliminate poverty and increase household incomes.

"Access to healthy food is essential for people's health and well-being, without that access we set communities on a trajectory for ill health that is preventable," said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. "Low-income communities and communities of color have less access to nutritious and affordable foods and have every right to environments that ensure optimal health."

11.3% (217,000) households living below 300% FPL experience very low food supply, disrupted eating patterns, and reduced food intake. Latinos are impacted the most, 67.4% followed by 14.7% of whites, 10.6% of African Americans, and 6.6% of Asians, respectively.

In addition, studies show that diets high in processed foods may contribute to the development of chronic diseases. Families and individuals in food insecure households may have poor diets because of limited healthy and affordable options resulting in consumption of less expensive fast food that is low in nutritional value, high in calories, and higher in sodium, saturated fats, and sugars.

To view the full report online, visit www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/ha.

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of over 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $900 million. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, visit PublicHealth.LACounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/LAPublicHealth, facebook.com/LAPublicHealth, and youtube.com/LAPublicHealth.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health works to protect health, prevent disease, and promote health and well-being.

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