Poverty in the United States is not new. Neither is hunger. A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides dismal news:
In 2011, 85.1 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the year. The remaining 14.9 percent (17.9 million households) were food insecure. Food-insecure households (those with low and very low food security) had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources.
Among households with children:
Children were food insecure at times during the year in 10.0 percent of households with children (3.9 million house- holds), essentially unchanged from 9.8 percent in 2010. These households were unable at times during the year to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children.
While we have seen an increase in food prices this year related to this summer’s drought and high gasoline prices,
The percentage of U.S. households that were food insecure remained essentially unchanged from 2010 to 2011, while the percentage with food insecurity in the severe range—described as very low food security—increased.
In fact, the largest single-year jump in food insecurity occurred between 2007 and 2008, as seen in the graph provided at the bottom of the report.
According to Billy Shore, CEO of No Kid Hungry:
“The USDA’s food insecurity numbers confirm that a humanitarian crisis looms within our own borders that can no longer be ignored. The crisis of childhood hunger in particular is putting at risk a generation of our youngest Americans, our national education goals and our economic competitiveness.”
Unfortunately, food insecurity and hunger has been ignored in the United States by far too many for far too long. It’s time to stop politicizing this issue and start doing something about it. And ending hunger in America while at the same time solving the obesity crisis do not have to be mutually exclusive goals. Together, as we are reminded by SNL’s Keenan Thompson, we need to FIX IT!