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WHYY: Food Insufficiency Rates Jump Among SNAP Recipients After Expanded Pandemic Benefits End, Penn Study Finds

From WHYY:  People who get financial help to buy food and groceries through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program saw an increase in their monthly benefit amounts during the COVID-19 pandemic. But after the emergency allotments stopped following the end of state and national public health emergencies earlier this year, an estimated 2 million more Americans faced food insufficiency, according to a new study by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “Our research shows that increasing the benefit size can be very powerful,” Dr. Aaron Richterman said. But once benefits were reduced, Richterman said about one out of every 20 SNAP households experienced food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as a lack of access to enough nutritious food. In Philadelphia alone, about 14% of people struggle to buy or afford healthy produce and groceries, according to Feeding America. “It can involve hunger at times, but it’s really that unstable access to food that’s of adequate quality or quantity,” Richterman, instructor of medicine at the Division of Infectious Diseases at Penn Medicine, said. Food insufficiency is a more extreme category of food insecurity, where individuals and families may not have enough food to eat at all. The Penn study, published in JAMA Health Forum, looked at data from 3 million survey participants across the U.S. and people who rely on food stamps. Read more at WHYY.