Emergency Food Supplies in Food Secure Households

Devon L. Golem, Carol Byrd-Bredbenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction Limited food supply paired with reduced access to food during emergency disasters can lead to malnutrition. To date, research evaluating the adequacy of household emergency food supplies relies on self-reported data from surveys and has not been measured objectively in households in the United States. The main objective of this study was to describe household calorie availability and nutrient density in a normal situation and to project changes that could occur when emergencies (eg, natural disasters) restrict replenishment of food supplies and disrupt water and/or energy needed for food preparation and storage. Hypothesis The calorie availability of the food supply within households in New Jersey (USA) is anticipated to be well above the recommended 3-day period. However, it is anticipated that the nutritional density of the food supply within these households will be negative. Additionally, the disaster-related factors that diminish the ability to consume stored food (eg, lack of water, power for cooking, and/or proper storage) will further reduce the caloric and nutritional adequacy of the household food supply. Methods The household food supplies of 100 food secure families in New Jersey were inventoried at a non-emergency point in time. The number of days that the inventoried food supply would provide all household members 100% of the daily value (DV) for calories and other nutrients was determined. Additionally, the effects of water and power shortages on nutritional availability of household food supply were estimated. Results The households had an average of 33.16 days (SD=21.97; range=8.14-125.17 days) of calories at 100% DV for all household members. Lack of water, energy for cooking, or both would render a decrease in the total household calories by 28%, 35%, or 38%, respectively. Loss of power for greater than five days would reduce availability of household calories by 27%. A positive nutrient density was observed with and without the food-related resources of water and power. Conclusion The mean food supply within the sampled households exceeds the current emergency preparedness recommendations, even when considering specific nutrients and emergency-related factors that affect ability to consume the food supply. Cross-sectional observation of the household food supply of food secure families in New Jersey reveals adequate dietary-based emergency preparedness and low vulnerability to emergency-induced food insecurity. Golem DL, Byrd-Bredbenner C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-364
Number of pages6
JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 21 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency

Keywords

  • Disaster planning
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Emergencyinduced food insecurity
  • Food supply
  • Household calorie days

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