It is heartbreaking to find out that eleven million children in the U.S. did not have access to sufficient and nutritious food.
The United States Department of Agriculture reports that there are about 37 million Americans who suffered from food insecurity in 2018. Estimates put the number to one in every nine Americans.
Most people would surely ask how this thing happened to a wealthy country identified as a superpower? Indeed, why is there food insecurity in America despite their abundance?
Let’s try to find out…
Hunger Versus Food Insecurity
The estimated 37 million Americans who didn’t have food security suffered from hunger because they were not able to eat regular, nutritious meals on a daily basis.
However, hunger is not the same as food insecurity. Hunger is a physical need that can be satisfied by eating a meal or a snack. Food insecurity, on the other hand, is the inability of a person to gain access to regular food supply that is rich in nutrients.
Experts say food security exists only when a person can buy food when he needs it, and the food should have abundant supply, as well as abundant in nutrients that would make the person physically fit.
It is not sufficient that there is available food, it has to be nutritious. So even if there is plenty of food but most of it are junk foods like burgers, pizzas, fries, etc., there is food insecurity.
Food Insecurity and Poverty
Poor people do not necessarily suffer from food insecurity. The same way that rich people are not immune to food insecurity.
Low income people could have the means to buy food for their daily needs, and these foods could be nutritious. As they do not have much, they would most often have money only for vegetables and occasionally, for meat.
The health of people in low income brackets are also affected by other factors aside from the absence of nutrient-rich foods. Problems such as low income, lack of proper housing, lack of money for addressing health concerns, etc. can affect their overall well-being.
The Faces of Food Insecurity
Food insecurity affects all sectors of the community, all ages (young and old), and all races (Caucasians, Latinos, etc.).
- The young and the old: The biggest problems old people face is the choice between buying food or buying medicine. And often, the latter prevails. Studies estimate that there will be about eight million senior Americans who will become food-insecure by the year 2050.
Families facing food insecurity also often choose cheaper food rather than nutritious foods. An estimated 25 percent of those affected are children.
- Counties most affected by food insecurity: An estimated 2.3 million families living in rural areas are facing hunger. Estimates from the U.S.’ Map the Meal Gap report indicates that Jefferson County in Mississippi had the highest rate of food insecurity at 36 percent.
It is also important to note that food insecurity is not confined to these communities. Studies say it is happening in communities across the country.