The Rural Patriot

November 17, 2006

Hungry? No, You are Just Experiencing “Low Food Security”

Filed under: Bush Administration,Federal Government,New York State,Poverty — theruralpatriot @ 7:31 pm

Only in America – where we switch words so that things don’t seem to be as bad as they really are.

The U.S. government has vowed that Americans will never be hungry again. But they may experience “very low food security.”
Mark Nord, the lead author of the report, said “hungry” is “not a scientifically accurate term for the specific phenomenon being measured in the food security survey.” Nord, a USDA sociologist, said, “We don’t have a measure of that condition.”

You know what? A hungry human being doesn’t care much about using a “scientifically accurate term” to describe how they are feeling. Just ask anyone who has experienced hunger.

The USDA said that 12 percent of Americans — 35 million people — could not put food on the table at least part of last year. Eleven million of them reported going hungry at times. Beginning this year, the USDA has determined “very low food security” to be a more scientifically palatable description for that group.

Are we as a nation ashamed of that fact yet? 35 million people is quite a large number. I don’t think we have enough charity-run soup kitchens to accommodate this amount.

From the Food Research and Action Center :

The number of people in the worst-off households (previously called “food insecure with hunger” and now called “very low food security” households) actually rose in 2005, from 10.7 to 10.8 million. The percentage of households in this category stayed flat at 3.7 percent. This lack of improvement in the worst-off households is consistent with other studies and the Census Bureau poverty data, which show worsening conditions for the poorest Americans.

“It is simply unacceptable that after years of economic growth, 35.1 million people in this country face a constant struggle against hunger,” said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). …

The 35.1 million number for 2005 includes 22.7 million adults (10.4 percent of all adults) and 12.4 million children (16.9 percent of all children). Of those, 10.8 million lived in households that were considered to have “very low food security,” a new USDA term that means one or more people in the household were hungry over the course of the year because they couldn’t afford enough food.

I agree. This is simply unacceptable in a country as rich as ours. However, I don’t look to this current administration to significantly help solve the problem. I get the feeling that they believe that social programs are something best left to churches and charities. (Remember Katrina and its victims? Many are still waiting for relief.)

NY Statistics:

Food Insecurity (low or very low food security): Average 2003 – 2005: 10.4%; Average 2000-2002: 9.4%; Change: 1.0%
Very Low Food Security: Average 2003 – 2005: 3.1%; Average 2000-2002: 2.9%; Change: .2%

NY State ranks 32nd in the nation for “Prevalence of household-level food insecurity and very low food security by State 2003-2005”

For your review – the complete USDA report: Household Food Security in the United States, 2005



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