(HealthDay News) — More than 1 in 5 US adults report household food insecurity, according to a report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Elaine Waxman, from the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, and colleagues examined how food insecurity changed from March/April 2020 to June 2022 among nonelderly adults. The analysis included data from the Health Reform Monitoring Survey.

More than 1 in 5 adults (21.6%) reported their households were food insecure in March to April 2020. This number declined to 15.3% in April 2021 following a robust public sector and private charitable response to the pandemic, but it rose significantly by June 2022, reaching a level similar to that before the pandemic (21.4%).

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Food insecurity was lower among employed adults in June 2022 vs those not working (17.3% vs 30.8%). Food insecurity was also higher in families with children (23.9% in June 2022). People of color experienced higher rates of food insecurity (Black: 29.2%; Hispanic: 32.3%; White: 17.3%).

“With food prices skyrocketing at the same time that many of the pandemic relief provisions have ended, many families and individuals have struggled to afford enough food,” Jamie Bussel, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the study, said in a statement. “Policies need to be put in place immediately to ensure that everyone in every community in America — especially our children — has equitable access to healthy, affordable food.”

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