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WMJ explores food insecurity in Wisconsin

Two separate research studies published in the August issue of WMJ deal directly with hunger in Wisconsin.

One study revealed that more than 13 percent of Wisconsin residents, who took part in a Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW) interview, reported they worried about going hungry in the past year.

“This shows that food insecurity is a problem for a significant number of people across all regions of Wisconsin,” said Javier Nieto, MD, PhD, in this news release. “Far from being predominantly an urban issue, a concern about not having enough to eat affects a significant proportion of the population in rural and even suburban areas.” Doctor Nieto is the senior author of the study.

Based on the survey, an estimated 740,000 or more Wisconsin residents worry about having enough to eat. Doctor Nieto said the number is closer to 1.5 million if a less stringent definition that includes “marginal” food insecurity is used.

The second study explores the predictors and prevalence of food insecurity in a food desert in La Crosse, Wis., where it exists in 33.9 percent of households in that area.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Gundersen Health System found six variables to predict food insecurity in La Crosse’s food desert: not having enough money, not having a way to get to the store, the perceived cost of healthy foods, renting versus home ownership, health insurance and a person’s smoking habits.

“Finding solutions for populations to have better access to healthy, nutritious food will involve multiple community members and organizations, including health care systems,” the authors wrote.

WMJ is a peer-reviewed journal published by the Wisconsin Medical Society six times a year. Click here to access the current issue.

Back to August 14, 2014 Medigram