142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Food Access and Security Assessment: A County Comparison Study

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cheryl Gaddis, DrPH, MPH, CHES , Department of Public Health, Mercer University College of Health Professions, Macon, GA
Background: In 2012, food insecurity affected 14.5% of households in the United States. Georgia currently ranks sixth and tenth in the nation for low food security households and very low food security households respectively. However, food security and access assessments conducted on a county level are limited. This study was conducted in two of 13 counties within one of Georgia's health districts to identify levels of household food security and social determinants which lead to this issue, and to inform the determination of food insecurity interventions.

Methods: Data was collected through 200 face-to-face surveys in each county. Questions were adapted from the Household Food Security Survey developed by the US Department of Agriculture. The survey contained 24 questions determining demographics, and severity, prevalence, and determinants of food status, access, and security.

Results: The study revealed that determinants of food insecurity include having an annual income less than $30,000 (82%); residing in zip codes without access to grocery stores within 1 mile (31%); and receiving government food assistance (99%). Approximately, 38% of households identified as low food secure and 34% as very low food secure. Data collection in the second county is in progress and will conclude in March 2014.

Conclusions: The data suggests that food security is a serious issue within the health district requiring further evaluation. Social determinants such as low income, decreased government food assistance, and lack of access to stores and affordable food provide opportunities for public health to address food insecurity through program and policy development.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Define food security, food insecurity, and hunger. Differentiate the context in which food security, food insecurity, and hunger occur. Identify the four categories of household food security status. Discuss the social determinants which lead to food insecurity. Discuss the opportunities for public health practice to address the contributing social determinants to food insecurity.

Keyword(s): Food Security, Health Disparities/Inequities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal investigator of multiple community assessments to determine health status and access in rural and under-served populations. My primary research interests focus on the impact of social determinants of health, specifically the lack of access to resources to ensure good overall health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.