Adolescent Health

Creating and Implementing a Blueprint to Reduce Food Insecurity Among Baltimore Youth

September 23, 2022

Associate Professor Kristin Mmari, Associate Scientist Susan Gross and Professor Tamar Mendelson led an assessment of food insecurity among Baltimore youth, finding that nearly half of the study sample was food insecure (read more about this project here).  

As a result of these findings the Baltimore Office of Planning asked the team to create a blueprint for how Baltimore can address adolescent food insecurity.  

Food Insecurity

The researchers started by assessing the evidence and identifying programs that have been shown to reduce food insecurity among adolescents. They also conducted in-depth interviews with stakeholders from city agencies and community-based organizations, focusing on current food programming for adolescents, the gaps in services, and their recommendations for how these gaps could be filled.  

In addition, members of the Youth Advisory Board for the Center for Adolescent Health and the Bloomberg American Health Initiative conducted their own survey and set of focus groups among young people to find out where and how young people would be comfortable accessing food, what types of food would be most appealing, and how these answers vary by neighborhood.  

The team used the data collected to develop a template for the blueprint. They then convened a stakeholder meeting to address specific topics in the plan and use the findings to propose specific strategies.  

Ultimately, a blueprint to address adolescent food insecurity among young people in Baltimore was developed and presented to city agencies. Their findings were also shared with Maryland state lawmakers at the 2019 Maryland Food Access and Nutrition Network Fighting Hunger Conference.  

In 2020, Baltimore City received funding to carry out one of the Blueprint’s strategies, the Summer Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program for adolescents, and Dr. Mmari, with additional Initiative funding, led the evaluation of this program.   

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