During this holidays season, there will be one out of every six people in the United States or more than 50 million people, including nearly 17 million children and 4 million seniors – faces hunger. Hunger is not just a problem in struggling Third World countries. I was invited to come to the The Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta, GA to the Come to the Table – Promedica and the Alliance to End Hunger seminar and I was in shock with everything that I have heard.
There are 10 states with residents who are especially burdened with food insecurity and do not know where they will get their next meal. The states are Ohio, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Nevada and California. Americans facing hunger have limited budgets and are routinely forced to make difficulty choices with their limited resources. One of the choices with the most devastating consequences is whether to buy food or the medicine and medical care needed to survive. Underweight babies are also at a higher risk of hunger as they age, further compounding the difficulties they face. Without access to good nutrition, particularly in their first three years of life, these children lack the solid foundation for physical and mental health, educational achievement, and economic productivity. Adults experiencing food insecurity are at greater risk of developing type II diabetes and more likely to experience mental and behavioral healthy problems, including higher levels of depression and anxiety.
So what can we do about ending hunger? Well, this seminar is going to answer this question and will show us how we can get involved in to make hunger a health issue that all our healthcare leaders can address to our Congress and other government departments and agencies. Next week I will talk about the presentations that were discussed during the seminar.