Food pantry analysis for Travis County, Texas : availability & access to food
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Food insecurity in Travis County, Texas is higher than the national and state average. Food insecurity can cause negative cognitive developmental effects in children and lead to chronic health conditions in adults, such as diabetes and hypertension. Private food assistance agencies, known as food pantries, can provide relief to low-income households that lack the purchasing power to afford or buy enough food. This study aimed to determine the geographic and transit accessibility of food pantries located in Travis County, Texas. In addition, a food pantry quality index was used to measure the quality of specific food pantries. Using demographic data on food pantry location in Travis County, differences between the distance of a food pantry to the nearest census block group were assessed by poverty level. The findings indicate that the location of a food pantry is closer to areas of need. For every 1 kilometer increase in distance from the nearest pantry, there are a 0.86 lower odds of poverty at the census block level (p-value=0.00). The range of quality scores for the food pantries in the specific food pantry sample reveals the variation in quality of food pantries currently operating in Travis County, Texas. Although food pantries were found to be located closer to vulnerable neighborhoods, there is still inequality in access and quality to food pantries for individuals who live in less vulnerable neighborhoods but are still experiencing poverty.
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