One in four city households with children say that one of their kids has been hungry because they could not afford food as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Additionally, one in three report having a child who lost weight since the pandemic began.
These findings, were reported in a survey this month by the City University School of Public Health. Nicholas Freudenberg is a professor there, "In the child health literature," he explained. "Weight loss is the starting point of really serious long-term health and developmental consequences."
The School of Public Health has surveyed New Yorkers 12 times since the pandemic began.
Despite a significant expansion of public and private food assistance programs, a staggering number of New Yorkers are still worried about having enough to eat.
About 44 percent of New Yorkers struggle with food, a rate that's three times higher than in 2019.
30 percent of the households reported running out of food before they had money to buy more.
"The underlying problem is that people aren't getting paid," said Freundenberg.
And some are not likely to resume work anytime soon. Economists say it could take years to reverse the jolting job losses since March.
The survey also found 54 percent of respondents say they're eating less healthy foods than before the pandemic, and nearly 50 percent say they're eating more packaged foods.
70 percent reported spending more money on food every week, and 64 percent say they're shopping less frequently.
"Absent focused intervention at a scale beyond what we’ve seen so far, I fear that New York City is going to have a much higher level of food insecurity for years to come," said Freundenberg.
The surveys are based on the responses of 1,000 New Yorkers of varying incomes, education and ethnicities.
The School of Public Health plans to conduct two more surveys before its study wraps up, and Freudenberg hopes the findings will guide reforms that he says are needed to ensure all New Yorkers have enough to eat.