Understanding the Dietary Need of a Local Food Bank’s Population Using Visual Analytics
Authors: Mikaya Hamilton, Steven Jiang, Lauren Davis
Abstract: Food banks are at the forefront of the battle against food insecurity which is a condition where households do not have adequate access to food. Traditionally speaking, food banks focus on distributing food to meet the needs. Recently, more food banks are shifting to supply adequate healthy food based on the populations they serve. However, the question remains whether a local food bank can find racial communities in need with dietary considerations. This study's purpose is to use data collected by a local food bank and create visualizations to aid strategic decision-making for the food bank to recognize racial communities with those who have dietary considerations. Results revealed nine out of sixteen counties in the service area of the local food bank have the highest number of African Americans allergic to shellfish compared to a few counties having the highest number of Whites, American Indians, and Hispanic/Latinos. Additionally, 53.7% of African Americans, 11.2% of Hispanics and Latinos, and 34.3% of Whites face lactose intolerance. Data shows that African Americans have the highest number of dietary considerations in most categories that are in several counties. The significance of this study supports a local food bank in finding dietary considerations within the areas they serve. Finding racial communities that face dietary considerations will aid the local food bank in making better strategic decisions on what types of food they should serve and where. Ultimately, the importance of this study is to combat food insecurity and hunger, so that members of the local food bank community can have dignity in knowing the food that will be given is valuable and not wasted.
Keywords: dietary considerations, food bank, food insecurity, visualization
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