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| FAYETVILLE — Researchers at the University of Arkansas Health Sciences found that one in four Arkansans experienced food insecurity in the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study. published recently in Dialogues about health.
The COVID-19 and Food Insecurity in a Fragile Rural State study analyzed various factors associated with food insecurity in Arkansas during the summer of 2020. The study found that financial factors specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as loss of income, were associated with higher chances of experiencing food insecurity.
The researchers also found that racial and ethnic minorities, especially Hispanics and black Arkansas, experienced the highest levels of food insecurity, even after participants received their first COVID-19 economic impact stimulus check.
“This study showed that many of the same social patterns of food insecurity that existed before the pandemic intensified during the pandemic,” said Don Willis, Ph.D., researcher and assistant professor at the Public Health Administration. & Research work. “However, we have also added new insight into how experiences and policies related directly to the pandemic, such as income loss and stimulus payments, have shaped food insecurity in the summer of 2020. Our findings highlight the need for policies that are effective in providing vulnerable groups with the appropriate economic assistance they need during a public health crisis.”
Food insecurity is defined as the lack of continued access to safe, adequate, culturally appropriate and nutritious food. It can be temporary or long term. Studies have shown that food insecurity in the United States has increased to 38%, with more than one-third of the food insecure population reporting that they are experiencing food insecurity for the first time. Before the pandemic, about 11% of the US population was food insecure, according to Feeding America.
About 25% of study participants reported that they were food insecure in the summer of 2020. Previous data indicates that about 13% of Arkansas were food insecure prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Feeding America, about 17% of Arkansas residents today face hunger, and about 24% of Arkansas children face limited access to healthy food.
UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university with colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, health professions, and public health; postgraduate studies; hospital; main campus in Little Rock; the Northwest Arkansas Regional Campus in Fayetteville; a network of regional campuses throughout the state; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stevens Institute of Spine and Neurology, the Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Institute for Psychiatric Research, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute for Aging, the Institute for Translational Research, and the Institute for Digital Health and Innovation. . UAMS includes UAMS Health, the state health care system that covers all of UAMS’ clinical businesses. UAMS is the only adult level 1 trauma center in the state. US News and World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as the best hospital for 2021-2022; ranked among the top 50 ear, nose and throat programs in the country for the third year in a row; and named five areas as the most effective: colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement, and stroke. UAMS has 3,047 students, 873 medical residents and fellows, and six dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 11,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians, who provide patient care at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Virginia State Medical Center, and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
The Northwest Regional Campus of UAMS has 288 medical students, pharmacists, nurses, and healthcare professionals, 64 medical and pharmaceutical residents, two sports medicine fellows, and 1,000 local faculty. There are nine clinics on campus, including a student-led clinic, as well as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. The faculty conducts research to reduce health inequalities. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.