The United States is known to have one of the world’s largest economy and be one of the most progressive countries in the world, yet there is a struggle when it comes to food, security, and hunger. Food insecurity is the lack of access to enough quality food to live a healthy life.
New Mexico’s struggle is poverty which causes many people not to have enough food to eat or to not be able to have enough nutritious food to consume. New Mexico is known to have the second highest food insecurity rate among children in the United States that can lead to many health issues in the future according to Feeding America.
\In New Mexico, 21 percent of the total population and 30 percent of the children live at or below the federal poverty level. Children are more likely to get their only nutrient rich meal from the schools they attend. Despite the economy, New Mexican families work hard but only 42 percent of the families are still considered low-income, meaning that they earn less than 200 percent of the poverty level.
Low income New Mexicans miss an average of three meals per week. Those families or individuals with low income have had to choose between paying for utilities, medicine, rent, mortgage, unhealthy food, and buying healthy food. Because the low-income families are more likely to suffer from food insecurity, their income on food purchases are much larger than middle or upper income families. Without the access to basic human needs such as food, individuals experience a greater difficulty in accessing other resources, that may lead to inequities in mental and physical health.
Supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), which is also known as the food stamp program, are not adequate to address food insecurity as 24 percent of the New Mexicans that are low income don’t receive it. About 80 percent of SNAP benefits are used up within the first half of the month and those that do not receive SNAP spend $200 million a year on groceries.
The health service department has been reported to falsify applications for emergency food assistance leaving eligible families without food.
Food insecurity has been linked to nutrition chronic conditions including obesity, cancer, cardiovascular problems, and diabetes. It has also been linked with the increase in hospitalization and health care costs, decreased test scores, and increased developmental risks for children.
Eating healthy is expensive, the cost of lean meats, dairy, and fresh produce is high, forcing low-income individuals to buy cheaper and more satiating processed foods that contain many added sugars and fats. New Mexico has healthy food incentive programs such as Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) which allows SNAP recipients to