A new report from the state’s Department of Health found that 30.9% of Queens adults — the second-highest percentage among the five boroughs — self-reported that they were “always, sometimes or usually worried or stressed about having enough money to buy nutritious meals in the past 12 months.”
Only the Bronx had a higher percentage among the boroughs, at 39%.
The research, conducted county-by-county throughout the state, paints a grim picture of health in New York. Within the New York City boroughs, Staten Island (Richmond County) reported the lowest percentage of food insecurity, but still came in at 22.1%. Statewide, food insecurity was reported by nearly one in four adults.
Bronx had the highest percentage among New York’s 62 counties, with Queens ranking second. Brooklyn ranked third, at 30.1%.
Lack of nutritious food can have serious health impacts.
“Hunger stresses the body and mind, and can result in malnutrition, inability to concentrate, anxiety and depression,” State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said in a statement. “In addition, adults who experience food insecurity are more likely to report chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and cancer.”
The problem of food insecurity has become even more urgent nationwide, as SNAP (Supplemental Food and Nutrition Program) benefits that were boosted during the pandemic lapsed back in February — effectively cutting the aid to low-income families.