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Kimberly Meraz (SURF SSHA)

Infant Food Security During COVID-19

Kimberly Meraz, Jessica A. Marino, B.A., Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook, PhD – University of California, Merced

In previous natural disasters we know that infants are a vulnerable group that often experiences hunger. Young infants rely solely on breastmilk and formula for food, but we don’t know if there is a shortage of food for infants during COVID-19. Through this study we hope to determine whether families with infants under the age of 1 have experienced hunger or struggles to get basic necessities like formula milk and infant hygiene necessities. To do this, we conducted an online survey with 53 caregivers of infants under the age of 1 about how COVID-19 has affected the way they feed their baby. Our results showed that 30.3% of families and their infants have very low food security, of the people who get government aid 50% of them have very low food security and 43% of them are having trouble getting formula milk. These results suggest that there should be a limit on the number of items people can buy at the store to prevent hoarding, especially of government aid eligible items.

 

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