The emergence of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) spun the world into a global pandemic that resulted in more than 200 million people being infected by the virus and over 4 million deaths worldwide. Individuals with pre-existing conditions or overall poor health were those hardest hit by the pandemic. In the United States “the coronavirus pandemic (COVID - 19) revealed deep seated inequities in health and healthcare for communities of color and amplified
the impact of social and economic factors” that are already contributing to poor health outcomes (SAMHSA, 2020). Most disadvantaged by these social and economic conditions were Black and Latinx individuals (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2020). Consequently, it is not surprising that while life expectancy in the United States decreased by a full year 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the decrease for Black and Latino populations was far greater.
The National Academy of Medicine (2020) has suggested that climate change will be one the most significant threats to human health in the 21 st century and the negative impacts of the change will “disproportionately affect the very young, the very old, people who are ill, those impoverished or homeless, and populations that depend on the natural environment for survival.” Long -standing racist policies such as racial segregation and locating waste disposal sites near low-income communities will exacerbate the impact of climate change on people of color and impoverished communities (Rysavy and Floyd, 2020). Moreover, the United States Global Change Research Council warned that the adverse health consequences of climate changes are projected to worsen with additional changes to our climate (USGCRP, 2018).
According to Feeding America, as many as 54 million people across the country may be food insecure (2020). Those who are food insecure are more likely to experience diet-sensitive chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Young people who are food insecure are also likely to experience significant delays in development. Moreover, food insecurity does not exist in a vacuum, rather is it shaped by
the unequal distribution of material, social, and cultural resources and is exacerbated by existing inequities in the broader food system. Therefore, food insecurity cannot be changed by feeding people, but by changing the unjust and oppressive social structures, processes, and
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