More than 49 million Americans are hungry. That means 1 in 6 of us – and at least 1 in 5 children – don’t have access to adequate food. One in 6 people!
When I first heard this statistic, I thought to myself: Hang on a second, aren’t we an obese nation who primarily struggles with too much food?
Well, yes. But obesity and hunger can easily co-exist, since the incidence of both is higher among those living in poverty. The two conditions often affect the same communities and in some cases, the same households. When you learn the true definition of hunger – the inability to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life – it’s easier to understand how either of these conditions might result from limited funds to devote to food.
More Hunger Facts that May Surprise You
- Hunger doesn’t just affect the homeless and out-of-work. Only 10% of households who receive help from Feeding America are homeless, and 36% have at least one working adult. 17% of hungry adults attended college.
- Lack of adequate nutritious food highly affects children’s cognitive and behavioral growth, so they’re much more likely to fall behind their peers, causing lasting negative consequences.
- Ironically, many hungry households are in the very rural and farm communities whose productivity feeds the world and provides low-cost wholesome food for American consumers.
Is Anyone Doing Anything About This?
Yes! Feeding America is, as are many local food assistance programs they help support. Through their large network of food banks and services, Feeding America is able to provide nutritious, fresh foods to Americans struggling with hunger; safe and nurturing places for children to have a meal; emergency assistance for disaster victims; and a chance at self-sufficiency for adults trying to break the cycle of poverty and hunger.
An Easy Way You Can Help Today
On September 6th, Speak Out Against Hunger by wearing orange, or changing your Facebook picture or Twitter Avatar to the orange Hunger Action Month logo. These actions help spread awareness about hunger and momentum to help improve it.
Curious about food insecurity in your area and what food assistance programs are making a difference? Check out this cool Map the Meal Gap , or find ways to get more involved on the Hunger Action Month website.