Food Insecurity and Hunger in the United States
Food security is defined as "access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life". In contrast, food insecurity is the limited or uncertain access to adequate food due to economic and social restraints. In 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that 14.5% (17.6 million) households were food insecure. 5.7% (7.0 million) households had very low food security, a more severe range of food insecurity in which food intake of some household members were reduced and/or disrupted due to limited resources. Furthermore, 10% (3.9 million) households were unable at times during the year to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children. These levels have essentially unchanged since 2008 (Coleman-Jensen et al. 4) . When an individual experiences physiological symptoms caused by involuntary shortage of food, hunger occurs, and may produce malnutrition over time. Although food insecurity and hunger is not as severe as in the more underdeveloped countries, they are prevalent, and sometimes overlooked, public health issues . Food justice advocates assert to access to affordable food is a basic human right and achieving food security is necessary for the well being of the future of our country. In order to measure food insecurity levels in the United States, the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module (HFSSM) was established by the USDA. Since 1995, it has been included in the Census Bureau's annual Current Population Survey. It consists of a set of 18 questions which classifies households as food-secure, or food-insecure, without hunger or with moderate or severe hunger for households with or without children. Research has shown that rates of food insecurity were substantially higher than the national average for households with incomes near or below the Federal poverty line, households with children headed by single women or single men, and Black and Hispanic...
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