Food Security and Access to Healthy Foods in Indian Country

Article

Food Security and Access to Healthy Foods in Indian Country

Learning from the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

Abstract

Food access, food security, and nutrition-related health disparities have long been recognized as particular challenges for Native Americans living on tribal land. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides nutrition assistance to tribal communities through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). In 2016, we completed a study of the FDPIR program for USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. We found that FDPIR participants reported significantly higher rates of food insecurity than national averages. While barriers to food access persist in Indian Country, FDPIR and locally-sourced food initiatives help to meet needs. Partnerships at multiple levels support food production and distribution, improve access to healthy foods, and encourage healthy diets.

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