An Alarming Rise In Food Insecurity Has More Americans Skipping Meals

The detrimental combination of inflationary pressures and cuts to the food stamps program has forced an increasing number of Americans to make an unthinkable choice: Skipping meals to cope with the hardships. 

Inflation, spurred by economic fluctuations, has unleashed a significant burden on household budgets. Soaring prices of essential commodities have made it increasingly challenging for families to afford a nutritionally adequate diet. Food now costs 20% more than it did two years ago. A whopping 44% of people who responded to a Propel survey said that they were skipping meals — a 7% increase from 2022.

This struggle is further compounded by the reduction of benefits to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps. The diminished support has left many recipients grappling with insufficient resources to meet their nutritional needs, pushing them to the brink of food insecurity. Some families are even opting to water down baby formula. Sadly, experts predicted the increase in food insecurity months ago before cuts were made to SNAP.

The impact of skipping meals

In March 2023, NPR reported that experts in the United States predicted a looming "hunger cliff" as pandemic-related relief measures abruptly ended. The programs providing expanded SNAP benefits and extended unemployment benefits left many vulnerable individuals and families without crucial support. This critical juncture highlighted the urgent need for sustained assistance and systemic reforms. The absence of this safety net triggered the distressing surge in food insecurity and, consequentially, the increased number of Americans skipping meals reported. 

Chronic malnutrition, weakened immune systems, and increased susceptibility to various illnesses become prevalent risks for those facing food insecurity. Adequate nutrition is a fundamental pillar of physical and mental well-being, and its absence can lead to cognitive impairments, developmental setbacks in children, and compromised overall health. As more Americans grapple with the heart-wrenching decision of skipping meals, urgent action and comprehensive solutions are needed to ensure equitable access to nutritious food and combat the far-reaching consequences.