Record numbers go hungry in the US
Government report shows 50m people unable to put food on the table at some point last year
More than a million children regularly go to bed hungry in the US, according to a government report that shows a startling increase in the number of families struggling to put food on the table.
President Barack Obama, who pledged to eradicate childhood hunger, has described as “unsettling” the agriculture department survey, which says 50 million people in the US – one in six of the population – were unable to afford to buy sufficient food to stay healthy at some point last year, in large part because of escalating unemployment or poorly paid jobs. That is a rise of more than one-third on the year before and the highest number since the survey began in 1995.
The agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, said: “These numbers are a wake-up call … for us to get very serious about food security and hunger, about nutrition and food safety in this country.”
Vilsack said he expected the numbers to worsen when the survey for this year is released in 2010.
The report said 6.7 million people were defined as having “very low food security” because they regularly lacked sufficient to eat. Among them, 96% reported that the food they bought did not last until they had money to buy more. Nearly all said they could not afford to eat balanced meals. Although few reported that this was a permanent situation throughout the year, 88% said it had occurred in three or more months.
Nearly half reported losing weight because they did not have enough money to buy food. Full Story