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Food Insecurity And The Low Income Family

1816 words - 7 pages

Food insecurity is an issue faced by millions of Americans every day, and the biggest group affected by this is working families with children. Food insecurity is so big that the United States government has now recognized it and provided a definition for it. The United States government has defined food insecurity as “a household level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food” (USDA.gov). Food banks and anti-hunger advocates agree that some of the causes of food insecurity are stagnant wages, increase in housing costs, unemployment, and inflation of the cost of food. These factors have caused food banks to see a change in the groups of people needing assistance. Doug O’Brien, director of public policy and research at Chicago-based Second Harvest says “’we’ve seen a real shift in who we serve. A decade ago, it was almost always homeless, single men and chronic substance abusers. Now we have children and working families at soup kitchens’” (Koch). These families that are feeling the effects of food insecurity will not be only ones affected by it, but all of America. Studies have shown that there is a link between food security, performance in the classroom, and obesity. If this issue is not faced head on, America will have a generation of children not fully prepared for the workforce and high health insurance rates due to obesity health issues.
In providing help to people who find themselves in food insecure households, people can be found who are skeptic of their true need. One of biggest myths of the disadvantaged is that they have poor shopping habits or shop in convenience stores where prices are extremely higher than compared to those in grocery stores. Another myth is that in America, the land of plenty, those that cannot afford food are lazy or a cheat. Robert Rector, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation says that American children both rich and poor are well fed and well nourished. He also says that nearly half of those claiming they don’t have enough to eat are actually overweight. However, the Food Research and Action Center says that food insecurity and obesity go hand in hand. On their website, frac.org, the group highlights studies that show that limited resources and lack of access to healthy affordable foods, cycles of food deprivation and overeating, and high levels of stress can all lead to weight gain. The studies show that foods that are more commonly accessed by the low income families are cheaper, higher in fat, calories and in sodium. A diet based on these types of foods leads to weight gain and obesity, which is why the low income family are more affected by obesity than any other group.
Skepticism of people’s true need in food insecure households ties into the support of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. This was seen in the 1990’s when both conservatives and liberals argued that the Johnson-era reforms had...

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