What is Food Insecurity?
The USDA defines food security as “access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.” Mississippi has the highest food insecurity rate in the United States, consistently ranking No. 1 or No. 2 for the past 15 years (USDA-ERS).
The USDA has identified four levels of food security:
- High Food Security
Households had no problems, or anxiety about, consistently accessing adequate food.
- Marginal Food Security
Households had problems at times, or anxiety about, accessing adequate food, but the quality, variety, and quantity of their food intake were not substantially reduced.
- Low Food Security
Households reduced the quality, variety, and desirability of their diets, but the quantity of food intake and normal eating patterns were not substantially disrupted.
- Very Low Food Security
At times during the year, eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake reduced because the household lacked money and other resources for food.