Food insecurity consequences have devastating ripple effect on Kansas City

Kansas City, MO — Nearly 145,000 Kansas City Metro area households don’t know where their next meal is coming from. And because the rate of food insecurity has continued to increase nationally — by almost a third since 2007 — its negative impact continues to expand.

The Health Forward Foundation (Health Forward) is launching a campaign to bring light to the issue. Health Forward partnered with the HSM Group to develop a Cost of Food Insecurity (CFI) calculator that gives decision makers information to assess the impact of food insecurity in their communities. The calculator can be accessed at

“We know that food insecurity is often hidden,” said Brenda Calvin, Health Forward program officer. “People need to know the effect food insecurity has on the child their son or daughter sits next to in school, or the single mom in the cubicle next to them at work.”

People often use “food insecurity” and “hunger” interchangeably, although there is a difference. Food insecurity is defined by limited access to sufficient food due to lack of money or other resources. Hunger is a physical symptom of food insecurity.

“Although the words ‘food insecurity’ may seem bland in comparison to ‘hunger,’ the staggering physical toll it takes on children and adults — and the negative effects on school performance, workplace productivity and health care — are dramatic,” said Calvin.

The CFI calculator also assesses the effectiveness of programs created to address the problem.

“Many families rely upon federal programs. In addition to providing a better understanding of how these programs indirectly help our community, the calculator website shares opportunities for people to get involved. We want people to ask their representatives to protect these programs and share the information we’re providing about the serious impact of food insecurity in Kansas City and across the country,” said Adriana Pecina, Health Forward program officer.

  Health Forward has made it a priority to fund efforts aimed at improving access to quality foods, boosting nutritional education and solidifying the link between food security and improved health. Since 2005, the foundation has awarded more than $35 million to build healthy communities.

“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 chronic hunger and unhealthy dietary habits,” said Pecina. “We’re fortunate to partner with many dynamic individuals and organizations, all of whom understand that healthy eating is, on many levels, imperative.”

Health Forward will run a social media campaign through Thanksgiving to raise awareness and highlight the work of its partners. More information, including new videos, social media tools and the Take Action Pledge can be found at