Top 10 Research Articles of 2021

by Eric Meredith Feeding America Consultant

Since the COVID-19 pandemic officially began nearly two years ago, millions of neighbors began experiencing the need for food assistance for the first time (Feeding America, 2021). Feeding America and its network members have continued to adjust operations, support the increased need, and work toward its 2025 goal: By 2025, Feeding America, in collaboration with our network and our partners, will ensure access to enough nutritious food for people struggling with hunger and make meaningful progress toward ending hunger.  

Each year, Feeding America’s Technical Advisory Group – made up of academics and experts whose role is to review and give ongoing feedback on Feeding America research projects – provides recommendations of the year’s key research related to hunger, the health impacts of food insecurity, and promising initiatives to ensure people have access to enough nutritious food. Twenty Twenty-One’s top research articles explore a variety of topics including how communities continue to address food insecurity during the pandemic, the effects of potential policy change on food security, and the difference healthcare partnerships can make in the fight against food insecurity. We hope you enjoy reading this year’s list. Past editions can be found here

A Proposal to Reconstruct the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) into a Universal Basic Income Program for Food 

“This research considered what would happen if SNAP was instead structured as a Universal Basic Income program.” 

Food Insecurity and Associated Challenges to Healthy Eating Among American Indians and Alaska Natives with Type 2 Diabetes: Multiple Stakeholder Perspectives 

“The purpose of this project was to identify themes regarding food insecurity and healthful eating in relation to diabetes management among American Indian and Alaskan Native adults with type 2 diabetes.” 

Food Insecurity and Health: Practices and Policies to Address Food Insecurity among Children   

“This commentary described the prevalence of and risk factors for food insecurity among children, consequences of food insecurity for children, federal nutrition programs that improve household food security and child health, and actions pediatricians can take in their practice and through advocacy to meaningfully address food insecurity among children.” 

Food Insecurity in a Low-Income, Predominantly African American Cohort Following the COVID-19 Pandemic   

“This study examined the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns on food insecurity among a predominantly African American cohort residing in low-income racially isolated neighborhoods.” 

Food Insecurity on College and University Campuses: A Context and Rationale for Solutions 

“The purpose of this commentary was to explore and contextualize the problem and solutions to food insecurity on college campuses.” 

Food Insufficiency and Mental Health in the US During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

“This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of food insufficiency and the associations between food insufficiency and symptoms of poor mental health in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Identification of factors related to food insecurity and the implications for social determinants of health screenings 

“The goal of this research was to identify modifiable characteristics related to endorsement of two food insecurity screener questions to better understand the resources necessary to improve outcomes.” 

Impact of changes in the frequency of food pantry utilization on client food security and well-being 

“This research identified the impact of pantry visiting frequency on client food security and health.” 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation and health care use in older adults 

“This study sought to determine whether participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is associated with lower health care use and cost for older adults.” 

The effect of the US safety net on material hardship over two decades 

“The study addressed a question at the center of many policy debates: How effective are US safety net programs (i.e., TANF, SNAP, and Medicaid)?”  

Eric Meredith is a cultural competency consultant for Feeding America.  He currently serves as a Tribal Relations Specialist at a large government agency.  Prior to his current role, Eric was a community nutrition education program manager for the University of Illinois and the federal government