Many Hispanics Lack Access to Nutritious Food; Barriers to Federal Assistance Programs Part of the Problem, Report Says
Almost one out of every five Hispanics lacks access to healthy food and about one in 20 regularly goes hungry, according to a new report from the National Council of La Raza, the Washington Post reports. The rate of "food insecurity" among Hispanics is almost as high as that of non-Hispanic blacks and much higher than that of whites, federal government data indicate, the Post reports. Poverty and cultural, language and legal barriers affect Hispanics' access to nutritious food and nutrition programs. For instance, many Hispanics are not aware that Congress reversed portions of a 1996 law disqualifying legal immigrants from receiving nearly all forms of government assistance such as food stamps, the Post reports. As a result, a little more than half of eligible Hispanics participate in the national food stamp program, compared with 70% of blacks who are eligible. In addition, about half of children born to immigrants participate in the food stamp program, compared with more than 80% of children whose parents are U.S. citizens. Hispanics also might be intimidated by the amount of paperwork required for some federal assistance programs, Jennifer Ng'andu, report co-author, said. She suggested that federal food programs should undertake outreach efforts in the Hispanic community and better train staff members to understand eligibility rules (Aizenman, Washington Post, 12/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.