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Food Insecurity Assessment in Miami

Introduction

While the average income in Miami, Florida, is adequate, there are still many people who experience financial difficulties leading to several negative consequences, including food insecurity. There is an apparent necessity to assess the situation from the medical perspective identifying the needs of Miami’s less fortunate households to prevent long-term health complications both in adults and children. Therefore, this paper will address the methods of interventions that can help alleviate certain issues associated with food shortages.

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While Miami is an affluent city, statistical data suggests that the population’s financial situation is not as fortunate as one might believe. The median income per household is lower than average in America, while the poverty rate is higher (“Miami, Florida population 2018,” 2018). According to the data from Feeding South Florida [FSF] (2017), about 9% of the county’s population does not have access to regular meals, which means that more than 40,000 people experience hunger in Miami. The problem is also exacerbated by the fact that the city is susceptible to natural disasters that especially affect the less fortunate.

It is highly important to address the situation because there are several health risks associated with poor nutrition. Research identifies such issues as heart diseases, hypertension, and allergies (Hassan, 2017). Malnourished children are found susceptible to iron deficiency, decreased bone density, and cognitive impairments (American Academic of Pediatrics, 2018). Moreover, several mental health problems are also associated with poor nutrition. Therefore, there is a clear need for timely interventions to prevent long-term negative consequences.

The government and NGOs’ efficiency help reduce the problems to a certain extent, but many researchers suggest that further measures are needed. For instance, they urge officials to focus more on providing access to proper nutrition to children from disadvantaged families (American Academic of Pediatrics, 2018). There are also suggestions regarding regularly screening households and individuals at risk to identify health complications at the earliest stages (American Academic of Pediatrics, 2018). The application of these methods would ensure the prevention of many health issues.

The current paper aims, based on the identified health risks and the suggested care plan, to investigate the effectiveness of certain interventions applied to families experiencing financial complications. The approach of this study (more thoroughly discussed in the methodology section) is to implement several interventions to five households found at risk of food insecurity. The expected outcomes include advancements in overall health in children and lowering the risk of heart attacks and hypertension in adults, as well as possible improvements in their psychological health.

Problem Statement

While Miami, Florida, is considered to be an affluent city, there are many people who live under the poverty line. About 9% of the countys population is at risk of poor nutrition, meaning that “approximately 240,190 children go to bed hungry every night” (Feeding South Florida, 2018, para. 1-2). This lack of access to regular meals entails several health concerns, including heart diseases and iron deficiency. Many cases of death and hospitalizations can be prevented by developing appropriate governmental policies to address food insecurity. Therefore, studying strategies for timely interventions possible to alleviate the problem is crucial for making policy decisions.

Questions

First of all, this study aims to identify whether suggested interventions are helpful regarding improving the physical health of adults and children. Another focus of this paper is to examine the effectiveness of these methods in enhancing psychological well-being.

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Methodology

The pre-intervention data will be collected through interviews with the members of the selected families as well as with community members (neighbors, teachers). All the information regarding their health will be acquired through medical assessments. The interventions are targeted at five families at risk of food insecurity. Children attend the same school, and adults are found susceptible to unstable blood pressure. The first intervention involves providing children with regular lunches. The second intervention implies organizing consultations with adults concerning their blood pressure issues. The first intervention is planned to occur within a period of six months, while the second is within three months. These projects will require assistance from the Florida Association of Food Banks, Feeding South Florida, and social services. Post-intervention data would be collected first immediately after the end and, then, several months later, to identify long-term results. It will also be acquired through medical assessments and interviews with the same individuals surveyed before the interventions. The narrative analysis will be employed to the data derived from interviews and assessments.

Timetable

The interventions are planned to start in the second part of November 2020 and end in 2021. The first stage of the project would demand acquiring written consent from the members of the selected families and contacting social services and the Florida Association of Food Banks to ensure their assistance. The second step would be collecting all the necessary pre-intervention data through interviews and medical assessments. Later, there will be interventions themselves, followed by collecting post-intervention data. The final step would be data analysis. This investigation aims to compare the physical and psychological health of the research participants before and after the interventions. For this purpose, interviews and medical assessments would be conducted at the beginning and the end of the study. It is possible to assume that the present timetable would allow acquiring all the necessary data. During the interventions, regular interviews and assessments will be conducted with the reports provided to the author’s academic advisor. The progress will be presented in the form of reports based on comparing the new data with the one from the previous entries.

References

American Academic of Pediatrics. (2018). Promoting food security for all children. Web.

Feeding South Florida. Map the meal gap 2017. Web.

Hassan, A. (Ed.). (2017). Food insecurity and disease: Prevalence, policy, and politics. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Miami, Florida population 2018. Web.

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