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date: 29 November 2022

Food Insecurity and Nutrition Programs in the United Stateslocked

Food Insecurity and Nutrition Programs in the United Stateslocked

  • Carrie L. DraperCarrie L. DraperUniversity of South Carolina


Food insecurity and hunger continue to persist around the world and in the United States, disproportionately impacting female-headed households of color. Further, those working on the front lines of the food system (e.g., grocery store, restaurant, and farm workers) face gross inequities in accessing food compared to those working in any other industry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers 15 nutrition assistance programs aimed at increasing domestic food security and reducing hunger. In recent years, innovations and expansions within some of these programs have presented new opportunities for ensuring greater and more dignified access to healthy foods for all, yet more than 13% of the households continue to experience food insecurity. Food insecurity is not only an individual or household phenomenon; theoretical frameworks, such as the social-ecological model, demonstrate how social and built environments and policy contexts drive a person's dietary behaviors and, therefore, health outcomes. Measures and tools have been developed to better assess and address food insecurity at these levels, including through the USDA’s Community Food Security Assessment Toolkit and Food Environment Atlas, community food assessment models, the national SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework and Interpretive Guide, and the values-based Whole Measures framework. These policy, programmatic, and assessment advances coupled with reframing the causes and solutions for addressing food insecurity systemically present opportunities for macro social workers at community, organizational, institutional, and policy levels to help realize the goal of food as a human right.


  • Macro Practice
  • Policy and Advocacy
  • Social Justice and Human Rights

Updated in this version

Content and references updated for the Encyclopedia of Macro Social Work.

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