A rights-based approach to food insecurity in the United States

Am J Public Health. 2009 Jul;99(7):1203-11. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.130229. Epub 2009 May 14.


Food insecurity is a serious public health problem associated with poor cognitive and emotional development in children and with depression and poor health in adults. Despite sizable continued investments in federal food assistance, food insecurity still affects 11.1% of US households--almost the same rate as in 1995, when annual measurement began. As a fresh approach to solving the problem of food insecurity, we suggest adoption of a human rights framework. This approach could actively engage those affected and would ensure that food security monitoring would be compared to benchmarks in national action plans. We describe key elements of a right-to-food approach, review challenges to implementing it, and suggest actions to foster its adoption.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Food Supply / economics
  • Food Supply / standards*
  • Human Rights*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Poverty / economics*
  • Prevalence
  • Single-Parent Family
  • United States
  • Young Adult