Health Forward Foundation

New calculator measures cost of food insecurity for community

We all know what it’s like to feel a little hungry, to miss or even skip a meal. We may jokingly overdramatize it, saying things like, “I’m starving,” or describing ourselves as “hangry.”

But that’s not true hunger, and true hunger isn’t the most concerning food-related health issue. That would be food insecurity, which encompasses a host of problems that, yes, includes hunger, but it also includes nutritional deficiencies and lacking the security of knowing when you will have your next meal.

We know that food insecurity causes health problems. It weakens our city’s families, businesses, and students. It’s a silent struggle, one that many people in Kansas City face every day.

Inadequate nutrition can negatively affect brain and cognitive development, school readiness and academic performance. Likewise, physical and social development can be impeded.

The Cost of Food Insecurity calculator shows the devastating impact of food insecurity and measures the best ways to reduce it. You can explore the data on our website: CostOfFoodInsecurity.com

More directly, a growing body of evidence indicates food insecurity raises the risk for obesity and a host of other chronic conditions, from anemia and asthma to diabetes and oral health problems.

That’s why the Health Forward Foundation supports efforts aimed at improving access to quality foods, boosting nutritional education and solidifying the link between food security and improved health.

The remarkably creative efforts of diverse individuals across the community, has helped establish Kansas City as a pioneer in developing effective solutions to the interrelated challenges of food insecurity.

In addition to our funding of food insecurity projects, we have worked to provide grantees with the leadership training, administrative support and strategic assistance they need to sustain their missions.

And we’ve just added one more way we are working to end food insecurity.

In partnership with The HSM Group, a division of Newristics, LLC, the Health Care Foundation developed the Cost of Food Insecurity (CFI) calculator to show the devastating impact of food insecurity and measure the best ways to reduce it. You can explore the data on our website: CostOfFoodInsecurity.com

Food insecurity affects us all, either directly or indirectly, as you will see from the data in the calculator. This tool calculates the impacts to the community and to individual businesses or organizations through increased health costs, student absenteeism, and lost productive time at work.

The results are sobering, especially when remembering each of those data sets represent actual individuals in our communities. We hope you will use this tool to demonstrate the cost your business or community incurs from food insecurity. Only when we bring this issue into the light, will we be able to truly understand and care for our neighbors.

As we move into the holiday season where food is at the forefront of our celebrations, we’ll be highlighting the issue of food insecurity. We hope you’ll join us.

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Share the food insecurity calculator with your network. It demonstrates the cost your business or community incurs from food insecurity.
  • Sign the pledge today. Share it with everyone! Ask your friends to take action and sign the pledge.
  • Repost the tweets and Facebook posts shared by Health Forward. Use the 
hashtags #FoodInsecurity and #KC.
  • Contact your elected officials to let them know this issue is important to you.
  • Support food repurposing and donation programs that help people in need.

We are proud to be among the early investors regionally to address food insecurity. We are proud to see the progress that has been made over the last decade. And we’re proud of the organizations creating innovative programs to address food insecurity. We still have a long way to go, but together, we will get there!

Find all of our food insecurity supplemental documents, including county infographics, on our calculator page.


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Health Forward's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact Health Forward Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at jsykes@hcfgkc.org.

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Health Forward Foundation
2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City MO 64108
(816) 241-7006