Q&A: Defining food insecurity

November 27, 2019
Medicare Web

Q: I've been hearing the term food insecurity increasingly mentioned as it relates to case management. Is there a standard definition for it?

A: Food insecurity is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service as a situation where a person has limited or irregular access to safe, nutritious foods, or is unable to access them in “socially acceptable ways.”

Food access is typically classified as:

  • High food security. Food is readily available all the time.
  • Marginal food security. There may be anxiety over food sufficiency, but typically it has little impact on the diet.
  • Low food security. Lack of access to food has an effect on the diet. A per-son may not have quality food, a variety of food, or access to food that he or she likes to eat.
  • Very low food security. People experiencing this level of food insecurity may not have enough access to food, resulting in reduced or disrupted intake

For more information, see Case Management Monthly.

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