Ohio Ranked 3rd in the Nation for "Very Low Food Security"

Newly released data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service showed the continued prevalence of food insecurity in Ohio, especially when compared to food security nationally.

Between 2010 and 2012 nationally, on average 14.7 percent of American households were food insecure at least some time during the year. This means that their food intake was reduced and eating patterns disrupted due to a lack of money and other resources for food. In Ohio during the same time period, 16.1 percent of households were food insecure, including 7.1 percent who experienced "very low" food security.

Low food security has risen in Ohio from 2000 to 2012 by 6.3 percent, which is the third largest increase for any state during that time period and ranks Ohio 10th in the nation.

Ohio's very low food security rate of 7.1 percent is also above the national average of 5.6 percent, and ties the state for 3rd in the country.

Nationally, 59 percent of all food insecure households participated in one or more of the three largest federal nutrition programs SNAP, WIC, and the National School Lunch Program, in the month prior to the survey.

Nationally, the typically food-secure household spent 26 percent more for food than the typical food-insecure household of the same size and composition, including food purchased with SNAP benefits (formerly called food stamps).

According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, in June 2013, 15.73 percent of the state's population (or 1,815,343 residents) relied on SNAP benefits to supplement their food buying resources and received on average $132 monthly. Many of these households, however, still struggled to secure sufficient amounts of food.