National Guard members and reservists are more than twice as likely to be hungry than Americans as a whole, according to estimated census data.
Numbers from April to June show this holds true for members regardless of age, race, income or education, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
One in 3 National Guard members with a spouse say they do not have enough to eat, while 1 in 5 members say they sometimes or often have to deal with food insecurity.
A spokesman for the National Guard told the Post he does not believe the census information is entirely accurate.
Wayne Hall said the survey included only 400,000 members out of 1.2 million total from the Air National Guard, Army National Guard and other branches.
“These figures are an underrepresentation of the full force,” Hall told the Post. “And almost a quarter surveyed didn’t report.”
National Guard members and many others struggled with employment last year due to long periods of activation and other complications from the coronavirus pandemic. Most members need a second job to support themselves and their families.
There were 11 million “man days” in 2020 for the National Guard, the most since World War II, John Goheen, a spokesperson for the National Guard Association of the United States, told the Post.
“While we cannot verify the report finding, we will continue to fight for programs that support our people and their families,” a spokesperson for the National Guard told The Hill.
“There are numerous support programs within the National Guard aimed at taking care of our Soldiers, Airmen and their families,” the spokesperson added.
The pandemic exacerbated hunger around the world, with the United Nations World Food Programme reporting recently that 41 million people are at imminent risk of famine.
Updated 2:05 p.m.