Children are going hungry in America. It’s becoming irrefutable based on recent studies by government agencies and anti-hunger groups. These groups estimate that 3.5 million children under the age of five are “food insecure” at some point during a given year.
The trouble in tackling this problem is another irrefutable fact. Our children are obese. As NPR’s recent series on child hunger in America described, a family living on $600 in food stamps a month often has no choice but to choose a cheap source of calories like McDonald’s over fresh fruits and vegetables.
The article mentions NPR’s report on this problem. Here are some excerpts from the transcript of the piece:
Alex Williamson, 8, doesn’t look very hungry — in fact, he’s a little chubby. But Alex, who lives in Carlisle, Pa., is one of 17 million children who live in U.S. households where getting enough food is a challenge. […]
Hunger in America is complicated. It’s not just getting enough food, but getting the right food — and making the right choices.
Connie Williamson says it’s not easy on a tight budget. She spends hours driving around each month looking for deals. She has to stretch $600 in food stamps for herself, her husband, Alex and two teenage girls.
“You can get leaner cuts of meat, but then they’re more expensive,” she says. “You can get fresh fruit every couple of days and blow half of your budget on fresh fruits and vegetables in a week’s time, easy.”
And, of course, some Republicans don’t wan to do anything about this because:
In an exchange at a House hearing this month with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) raised other concerns.
“I have no doubt there are kids that go to school hungry,” he said. “But I have to admit, every time I hear that we have an obesity problem and everybody’s going hungry, how do you reconcile the two?”
Vilsack said they’re not all that different. He said there’s a similarity between low-income families trying to stretch scarce food dollars with high-calorie processed foods, “and youngsters who are just flat out not getting fed because their parents don’t have the resources to feed them.”
Cassidy said he wasn’t sure he followed that reasoning.
See also, “They’re Hungry”.