Lawmakers hold hearing on veterans facing food insecurity – KIRO 7 News Seattle
WASHINGTON — Members of a House subcommittee heard testimony Monday about how tens of thousands of American veterans face food insecurity once they return to civilian life and about efforts deployed to tackle the problem.
Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are almost twice as likely to lack adequate access to food compared to the general population, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“They find themselves faced with choices between going hungry or being able to afford gas to get to one of the available food outlets or affording themselves food while maneuvering in a tough labor market,” said Anthony Stewart, CEO of US4Warriors.
Testimonies have pointed out that as military medicine improves, more veterans can survive their battle wounds.
But it also means young veterans live with more work-limiting injuries once they return to civilian life, which can limit their income and access to food.
“Between 2005 and 2019, veterans were predicted to be 7.4% more likely to live in a food-insecure household than non-veterans,” said Matthew Rabbitt, research economist for the U.S. Department of Health. ‘Agriculture. “When an individual’s access to healthy, nutritious food is compromised, they are at greater risk for physical and mental health problems.”
The VA told lawmakers that veterans are now screened for food insecurity during primary care visits.
If it is reported that he does not have sufficient access to food, this veteran is referred to a social worker and a dietitian.
According to the VA, the department has performed more than 10 million of these screenings since 2017.
“We are currently working to collect information on veterans who screen positive for food insecurity, looking at data points such as age, diagnosis, years of service, location,” said Dr. Christine Going, National Food Security Program Coordinator for the VA. “The new office is focused on screening and response with plans to deploy pilots who see the value of each screening as a tool to reach more veterans.”
Testimonies also indicated that women veterinarians are more likely to face food insecurity than men, and that veterans in rural areas are more food insecure than those living in cities.
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