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Food insecurity plagues residents around the state

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Nine percent of Minnesota households struggle with access to food, a situation known as "food insecurity." The issue is about more than just stomach pangs. People who have difficulty getting regular, healthy meals can develop chronic health conditions like obesity and diabetes.

It may seem paradoxical that food insecurity could lead to obesity, but cheap food options are often processed and unhealthy.  This struggle is even worse for the 1.6 million Minnesotans who live in a food desert — an area of the state where healthy food is difficult to come by and there's an abundance of unhealthy options. This places people between a rock and an unhealthy place: Do they take the time and effort to find reasonably priced, healthy foods, or buy something inexpensive that could lead to poor health outcomes over time?

Three guests joined host Angela Davis to talk about hunger. Allison O'Toole is the new CEO of Second Harvest Heartland. Niceta Thomas is the principal of St. Paul's Obama Elementary School. Tracy Maki is CEO of Valley Outreach, an organization in Stillwater that provides people in need with services like a food shelf, clothing closet and emergency assistance.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.