A collection of scholarly work created by the ASU Food Policy and Environment Research Group under the leadership of Professor Punam Ohri-Vachaspati. The group examines policies, programs, and environments that influence food consumption and physical activity behaviors and health outcomes in disadvantaged populations. We aim to improve the health of children and families through comprehensive policy and environmental approaches.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and the resulting closures of schools, businesses, and restaurants led to a massive economic disruption in Arizona. The unemployment rate at its peak reached 14.2% (April 2020) - a level even higher than during the great recession of 2008. High unemployment rates, coupled with a breakdown of local and national food supply chains, led to a remarkable increase in food insecurity rates among Arizona households. More than a year later, as vaccines became widely available and restrictions were lifted, schools and business began to reopen, and most activities slowly returned to pre-pandemic standards. The effects of the pandemic on food insecurity and food-related behaviors, however, might have long-lasting effects. This brief describes levels of food insecurity, food assistance program participation, job disruption, and food related behaviors among 814 households in Arizona, in the 12 months preceding the pandemic (March 2019 – March 2020) and approximately one year after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic ( January 2021 –April 2021). Data collection took place between April and May 2021.
We surveyed a diverse group of Arizona residents, including over 2,300 parents of school-age children and nearly 1,300 members of the school community, consisting of teachers, lunchroom staff, school administrators, and other school employees. Respondents represented a wide range of racial, economic, educational, and political backgrounds. A more detailed report of methods and results will be shared on the Arizona Food Bank Network’s website in January 2023.
Under current United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines, Arizona schools participating in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program are reimbursed for the meals they serve students through federal dollars and co-pays from student families. For this analysis, our goal was to estimate the cost to the State of Arizona if the breakfast and lunch co-pays for students that qualify for reduced-price meals were covered by the state.
We surveyed a diverse group of Arizona residents, including over 2,300 parents of school-age children and nearly 1,300 members of the school community, consisting of teachers, lunchroom staff, school administrators,and other school employees. Respondents represented a wide range of racial, economic, educational, and political backgrounds.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led to disruptions in the food supply and high rates of unemployment and under-employment, both in Arizona and nationally. These emergencies required food assistance programs to adapt quickly and in unprecedented ways by relaxing eligibility criteria, improvising on delivery modalities, and increasing benefits. To examine food assistance program participation during the pandemic, we collected data from a representative sample of 620 Arizona households. The sample was drawn from across Arizona in July-August 2020 using an online survey. This brief provides the summary for participation in key food assistance programs, namely, the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC), School Food Programs, and the emergency food assistance provided through food pantries.
In the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, food assistance programs adapted quickly and in unprecedented ways to meet the challenges of high unemployment, disruptions in the food supply, and school closures. Supported by US Department of Agriculture’s COVID-19 program-specific waivers, some programs relaxed their eligibility criteria, while others improvised on delivery modalities or temporarily increased benefits.1 To examine food assistance program participation and participant experiences during the first few months of the pandemic, we collected online survey data in July 2020 from a sample of over 1,500 U.S. households, representative of the US population. This brief summarizes participation in key food assistance programs, namely, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC), School Food Programs, as well as emergency food assistance provided through Food Pantries.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected employment and food security globally and in the United States. To understand the impacts of COVID-19 on food security in Arizona, a representative survey of Arizona households was launched online from July 1 to August 10, 2020. This brief provides an overview of changes in food security rate, perceived worries and challenges about food security, as well as behavioral changes and strategies adopted since the pandemic. Additional briefs from the Arizona survey covering topics on economic consequences, food access, and participations in food assistance programs during the pandemic are also available.
In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a sudden and severe economic downturn. Between February and May 2020, the number of unemployed individuals rose by more than 14 million, resulting in an unprecedented increase in the unemployment rate, which went from 3.8% in February to 14.4% in April. Even though unemployment has declined in recent months, with some individuals returning to work, the rate is still much higher than it was one year ago (7.9% in September 2020 vs. 3.5% in September 2019). Further, as of September 2020, there are 19.4 million persons unable to work due to the pandemic, as well as 6.3 million persons working only part time even though they would prefer to work more.