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One in six Californians had trouble feeding themselves during recession

July 9, 2012 |  3:45 pm

A shopper looks for canned goods at the San Francisco Food Bank

About 3.8 million Californians went hungry during the recession, according to a report released Monday by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. More than 1.1 million of those adults were in Los Angeles County.

Altogether, about one in six Californians had "food insecurity," meaning they couldn't put enough food on the table and experienced hunger between 2007 and 2009. In 2001, the number was 1 in 12.

Families with children and low-income Latinos were most affected, the report said. More than half of low-income, Spanish-speaking adults experienced food insecurity, meaning they were hungry or had to cut their food intake.

Adults with food insecurity are more at risk for depression and chronic disease.

The authors urged policymakers to improve and expand nutrition programs such as food stamps and school lunches.

“Congress can help families avoid food insecurity by maintaining an adequate and resilient safety net,”
Matthew Sharp of the California Food Policy Advocates, which funded the study, said in a statement.

The report was based on data from the California Health Interview Survey. Other studies have reported similar figures.

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Photo: A shopper looks for canned goods at the San Francisco Food Bank. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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