Hunger in America
Photo: Erik Wilson
Imagine not knowing where your next meal is coming from. Unthinkable right?
But in the United States, the wealthiest nation on the planet:
- 49 million Americans are at risk for hunger
- 17 million children live in households where food has run short over the past year
Here in Philadelphia:
- 1 in 4 residents are at risk for hunger, more than double the rates reported at both the national and state levels.
The Face of Hunger
Most of us are familiar with photographs of hunger in countries like Ethiopia, India and Vietnam—images of wide-eyed children with distended bellies and withered limbs. That's not what hunger looks like in America.
Hunger is often hidden in the U.S. It's a father skipping a meal so he can pay the rent. It's a mother going to bed without dinner so her son has enough to eat. It's a grandmother eating one meal a day so she can afford medication.
In America, hunger can even look like obesity. Families stretch their dollars by buying cheaper, high-calorie foods with little nutritional value. Low-income mothers often cut back on their own meals so their kids don't go hungry. Such chronic ups and downs in food intake frequently lead to obesity among these women.
Additionally, many low-income neighborhoods, especially those in the inner city, don't have supermarkets. That forces residents to rely on corner stores, which are much more likely to carry chips and soda than fresh fruit and vegetables.