PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Letter to the Editor - In America, hunger is still severe problem
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
It's important to correct the inaccuracies in Charles Lane's response ("Hunger overblown," Tuesday) to the USDA's food security report:
(1) Respondents were classified as "food-insecure" if they reported at least "three or more food-insecure conditions," not simply because they were "worried" about running out of food.
(2) Since 1995, the USDA has used consistent measures in this annual report and the startling fact remains: A record number of Americans - including 17 million children - are now at risk for hunger.
America's hungry children may not have bloated bellies, but that doesn't mean hunger is not a severe problem. Low-income families are often forced to stretch their dollars by buying cheaper, high-calorie foods that may not have nutritional value. Research also shows that mothers cut back on their own meals so their kids don't go hungry. These sacrifices mean chronic ups and downs in food intake, which can lead to obesity among low-income women.
Overall, the implications of inadequate food intake are enormous, costing the state of Pennsylvania $3.25 billion a year in health-care costs, lost education, and worker productivity.
Director, Philadelphia GROW Project/Witnesses to Hunger
Executive director, Philabundance
Family economic security associate, Public Citizens for Children and Youth
Executive director, Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger
Jonathan M. Stein
General counsel, Community Legal Services Inc.
Executive director, SHARE Food Program