Food insecurity is associated with worse health: nearly half of all food-insecure New Yorkers rate their health as poor or fair; 69 percent report at least one chronic illness; and more than half find it difficult to get the food they need. These findings come from the first-ever statewide survey on the connection between food and health, released by the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth).
This statewide survey goes beyond simply estimating the number of New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity. It dives deep into the connections between food and New Yorkers’ health, why obtaining and preparing food can be difficult, and the perilous tradeoffs people make—such as delaying medical care and prescription medication—to put food on the table.
The report also offers recommendations for both policymakers and health care providers in New York State to support food-security measures that will in turn improve health. The survey finds New Yorkers overwhelmingly support policy solutions that could help alleviate food insecurity, including making school lunch free for all students, streamlining food benefit applications, and making it easier for families to use SNAP benefits to purchase food online.