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J Rural Health. 2004 Spring;20(2):173-80.

High prevalence of food insecurity and hunger in households in the rural Lower Mississippi Delta.

Author information

  • 1USDA, ARS, Delta NIRI, 900 South Shackleford Road, Suite 509, Little Rock, AR 72211, USA.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Residents of the Lower Mississippi Delta of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi are at risk for food insecurity since a high proportion of the population live in households with incomes below the poverty level and have reduced access to food and decreased availability of a variety of foods. However, the magnitude of the problem is unknown because presently only nationwide and state estimates of food insecurity are available.

PURPOSE:

This study was conducted by the Lower-Mississippi Delta Nutrition Intervention Research Consortium to determine the prevalence of household food insecurity, identify high-risk subgroups in the Lower Delta, and compare to national data.

METHODS:

A 2-stage stratified cluster sample representative of the population in 36 counties in the Lower Delta was selected using list-assisted random digit dialing telephone methodology. A cross-sectional telephone survey of 1662 households was conducted in 18 of the 36 counties using the US Food Security Survey Module.

FINDINGS:

Twenty-one percent of Lower Delta households were food insecure, double the 2000 nationwide rate of 10.5%. Within the Lower Delta, groups with the highest rates of food insecurity were households with income below $15,000, black households, and households with children. The prevalence of hunger in Delta households with white children was 3.2% and in households with black children was 11.0%, compared to nationwide estimates of 0.3% and 1.6%.

CONCLUSIONS:

The Lower Mississippi Delta is characterized by a high prevalence of food insecurity and hunger. Future efforts to identify the household and community determinants of food insecurity to reduce its high prevalence are indicated.

PMID:
15085632
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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