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Study links Covid to food insecurity

Tuesday, December 1, 2020 by Tai Moses

Researchers at Dell Medical School have found that Covid-19 surges are linked to food insecurity in Austin, particularly among children. A Dell Med Department of Pediatrics research team partnered with CommUnityCare Health Centers to conduct a study of 645 Austin-area families from April to August 2020. “The study showed food insecurity affected families surveyed 33% to 70% during this time, with an average of 47%. The fluctuations corresponded to Travis County Covid-19 rates and hospitalizations, and with changes in the labor market,” according to the news release. “In May, when steps were taken to reopen the Texas economy, food insecurity flexed downward, only to peak at 70% of families during July, when local Covid rates worsened,” said Dr. Megan Gray, an assistant professor in the departments of Pediatrics and Population Health at Dell Med. “While these numbers of increased or decreased percentages of food insecurity give us a snapshot of what our community is facing, the reality of food insecurity goes beyond just having enough money to buy food. It’s about the chronic stress and mental health impact of families who are worried about not being able to meet their children’s needs,” she added. “And looking at these numbers, it’s very concerning that Covid-19 has erased decades of progress in food access and food equity, which will likely get worse this winter as Covid-19 rates rise in our community.” Read more about the study here.

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