Poverty and Proximity to Food Assistance Programs are Inversely Related to Community Food Security in An Appalachian Ohio Region

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Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition


This study was conducted to explore indicators of community food security of the largest areas of census in the south east Appalachian counties of Ohio. A survey of 80 cities, towns, and townships in the south east Appalachian counties of Ohio (1 metropolitan and 7 rural counties) for 38 indicators of community food security (general community characteristics, community food resources, community resource accessibility, community food production) was conducted. Each area of census was ranked using principal components factor analysis to determine overall community food security status. Spearman's rank correlation was used to determine the relationship of each indicator with the final community food security ranking. Community food security was significantly related to poverty rate and other factors related to available resources, including income and transportation, and proximity of food and nutrition assistance programs. This study enhances our understanding of community food security in Appalachian Ohio, including barriers to increased community food security, and can be used to enhance existing and implement new policies and programs related to improving community food security. This study provides a model for the evaluation of community food security in regions across the United States.