Friday, November 20, 2009

USDA Report - Food Insecurity in U.S.

The USDA has recently released a report stating that 14.5% of U.S. households lack adequate food at times. The data for the report were obtained through surveying a sample of 44,000 households in the U.S.

Questions asked included:

Worried food would run out before (I/we) got money to buy more
Food bought didn’t last and (I/we) didn’t have money to get more
Couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals
Adult(s) cut size of meals or skipped meals
Relied on few kinds of low-cost food to feed child(ren)

Not surprisingly, food insecurity is associated with poverty.

Judging by the raw data reported, of the people who answered "yes" to questions such as the ones shown above, very few people frequently went hungry. Most of them reported that their "yes" answers only applied now and then.

I live in one of the poorest communities in the U.S. and most of the people I encounter are overweight, many of them grossly obese. In the grocery store, I see fat people checking out carts full of soft drinks, white bread, boxes of sugary cereal, candy and so forth. It is not uncommon to see full carts that contain no nutritious food at all. For the cost of the junk people waste their money on, they could have bought fresh vegetables, whole grain products, beans, and other nutritious foods. Based on my observations, the problem in the U.S. (at least for people who live in houses or apartments with kitchens) is more ignorance or negligence rather than actual unavailability of food. This would not be true for people who are living on the streets, but I doubt that houseless people were included in the USDA survey.

More American households had difficulty putting enough food on the table in 2008

In 2008, 85 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the entire year, but 14.6 percent of households were food insecure at least some time during that year, up from 11.1 percent in 2007.

This is the highest recorded prevalence rate of food insecurity since 1995 when the first national food security survey was conducted.

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