Every child deserves a bright future, yet COVID has been a horrific disruptor to progress around reducing child hunger in America.
With 30 million children in the U.S. depending on school for meals, school closures and loss of family income mean food insecurity rates will rise.
Not only has the pandemic has left millions of families financially strapped and stretched to the limit as they juggle work and helping kids with remote learning, it has brought illness, loss and desperation to millions of families.
Children are missing out on the social, emotional and academic fundamentals of childhood. Too many are experiencing hardships and trauma that will echo through their lives and communities for years to come. In short, the pandemic has robbed kids of the normalcy that is essential to their healthy growth and development.
Urgent action is needed to ensure all America’s children can reach their full potential.
Millions of working Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from. We sent three photographers to explore hunger in three very different parts of the United States, each giving different faces to the same statistic: One-sixth of Americans don’t have enough food to eat.
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
On a gold-gray morning in Mitchell County, Iowa, Christina Dreier sends her son, Keagan, to school without breakfast. He is three years old, barrel-chested, and stubborn, and usually refuses to eat the free meal he qualifies for at preschool. Faced with a dwindling pantry, Dreier has decided to try some tough love: If she sends Keagan to school hungry, maybe he’ll eat the free breakfast, which will leave more food at home for lunch.
Dreier knows her gambit might backfire, and it does. Keagan ignores the school breakfast on offer and is so hungry by lunchtime that Dreier picks through the dregs of her freezer in hopes of filling him and his little sister up. She shakes the last seven chicken nuggets onto a battered baking sheet, adds the remnants of a bag of Tater Tots and a couple of hot dogs from the fridge, and slides it all into the oven. She’s gone through most of the food she got last week from a local food pantry; her own lunch will be the bits of potato left on the kids’ plates. “I eat lunch if there’s enough,” she says. “But the kids are the most important. They have to eat first.”
The fear of being unable to feed her children hangs over Dreier’s days. She and her husband, Jim, pit one bill against the next—the phone against the rent against the heat against the gas—trying always to set aside money to make up for what they can’t get from the food pantry or with their food stamps, issued by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Congressional cuts to SNAP last fall of five billion dollars pared her benefits from $205 to $172 a month.
On this particular afternoon Dreier is panic about the family van, which is on the brink of repossession. She and Jim need to open a new bank account so they can make automatic payments instead of scrambling to pay in cash. But that will happen only if Jim finishes work early. It’s peak harvest time, and he often works until eight at night, applying pesticides on commercial farms for $14 an hour. Running the errand would mean forgoing overtime pay that could go for groceries.
It’s the same every month, Dreier says. Bills go unpaid because, when push comes to shove, food wins out. “We have to eat, you know,” she says, only the slightest hint of resignation in her voice. “We can’t starve.”
Chances are good that if you picture what hunger looks like, you don’t summon an image of someone like Christina Dreier: white, married, clothed, and housed, even a bit overweight. The image of hunger in America today differs markedly from Depression-era images of the gaunt-faced unemployed scavenging for food on urban streets. “This is not your grandmother’s hunger,” says Janet Poppendieck, a sociologist at the City University of New York. “Today more working people and their families are hungry because wages have declined.”
In the United States more than half of hungry households are white, and two-thirds of those with children have at least one working adult—typically in a full-time job. With this new image comes a new lexicon: In 2006 the U.S. government replaced “hunger” with the term “food insecure” to describe any household where, sometime during the previous year, people didn’t have enough food to eat. By whatever name, the number of people going hungry has grown dramatically in the U.S., increasing to 48 million by 2012—a fivefold jump since the late 1960s, including an increase of 57 percent since the late 1990s. Privately run programs like food pantries and soup kitchens have mushroomed too. In 1980 there were a few hundred emergency food programs across the country; today there are 50,000. Finding food has become a central worry for millions of Americans. One in six reports running out of food at least once a year. In many European countries, by contrast, the number is closer to one in 20.
To witness hunger in America today is to enter a twilight zone where refrigerators are so frequently bare of all but mustard and ketchup that it provokes no remark, inspires no embarrassment. Here dinners are cooked using macaroni-and-cheese mixes and other processed ingredients from food pantries, and fresh fruits and vegetables are eaten only in the first days after the SNAP payment arrives. Here you’ll meet hungry farmhands and retired schoolteachers, hungry families who are in the U.S. without papers and hungry families whose histories stretch back to the Mayflower. Here pocketing food from work and skipping meals to make food stretch are so common that such practices barely register as a way of coping with hunger and are simply a way of life.
It can be tempting to ask families receiving food assistance, If you’re really hungry, then how can you be—as many of them are—overweight? The answer is “this paradox that hunger and obesity are two sides of the same coin,” says Melissa Boteach, vice president of the Poverty and Prosperity Program of the Center for American Progress, “people making trade-offs between food that’s filling but not nutritious and may actually contribute to obesity.” For many of the hungry in America, the extra pounds that result from a poor diet are collateral damage—an unintended side effect of hunger itself.
Help for the Hungry
As the face of hunger has changed, so has its address. The town of Spring, Texas, is where ranchland meets Houston’s sprawl, a suburb of curving streets and shade trees and privacy fences. The suburbs are the home of the American dream, but they are also a place where poverty is on the rise. As urban housing has gotten more expensive, the working poor have been pushed out. Today hunger in the suburbs is growing faster than in cities, having more than doubled since 2007.
Yet in the suburbs America’s hungry don’t look the part either. They drive cars, which are a necessity, not a luxury, here. Cheap clothes and toys can be found at yard sales and thrift shops, making a middle-class appearance affordable. Consumer electronics can be bought on installment plans, so the hungry rarely lack phones or televisions. Of all the suburbs in the country, northwest Houston is one of the best places to see how people live on what might be called a minimum-wage diet: It has one of the highest percentages of households receiving SNAP assistance where at least one family member holds down a job. The Jefferson sisters, Meme and Kai, live here in a four-bedroom, two-car-garage, two-bath home with Kai’s boyfriend, Frank, and an extended family that includes their invalid mother, their five sons, a daughter-in-law, and five grandchildren. The house has a rickety desktop computer in the living room and a television in most rooms, but only two real beds; nearly everyone sleeps on mattresses or piles of blankets spread out on the floor.
Though all three adults work full-time, their income is not enough to keep the family consistently fed without assistance. The root problem is the lack of jobs that pay wages a family can live on, so food assistance has become the government’s—and society’s—way to supplement low wages. The Jeffersons receive $125 in food stamps each month, and a charity brings in meals for their bedridden matriarch.
Like most of the new American hungry, the Jeffersons face not a total absence of food but the gnawing fear that the next meal can’t be counted on. When Meme shows me the family’s food supply, the refrigerator holds takeout boxes and beverages but little fresh food. Two cupboards are stocked with a smattering of canned beans and sauces. A pair of freezers in the garage each contain a single layer of food, enough to fill bellies for just a few days. Meme says she took the children aside a few months earlier to tell them they were eating too much and wasting food besides. “I told them if they keep wasting, we have to go live on the corner, beg for money, or something.”
Stranded in a Food Desert
Jacqueline Christian is another Houston mother who has a full-time job, drives a comfortable sedan, and wears flattering clothes. Her older son, 15-year-old Ja’Zarrian, sports bright orange Air Jordans. There’s little clue to the family’s hardship until you learn that their clothes come mostly from discount stores, that Ja’Zarrian mowed lawns for a summer to get the sneakers, that they’re living in a homeless shelter, and that despite receiving $325 in monthly food stamps, Christian worries about not having enough food “about half of the year.”
Christian works as a home health aide, earning $7.75 an hour at a job that requires her to crisscross Houston’s sprawl to see her clients. Her schedule, as much as her wages, influences what she eats. To save time she often relies on premade food from grocery stores. “You can’t go all the way home and cook,” she says.
On a day that includes running a dozen errands and charming her payday loan officer into giving her an extra day, Christian picks up Ja’Zarrian and her seven-year-old, Jerimiah, after school. As the sun drops in the sky, Jerimiah begins complaining that he’s hungry. The neon glow of a Hartz Chicken Buffet appears up the road, and he starts in: Can’t we just get some gizzards, please?
Christian pulls into the drive-through and orders a combo of fried gizzards and okra for $8.11. It takes three declined credit cards and an emergency loan from her mother, who lives nearby, before she can pay for it. When the food finally arrives, filling the car with the smell of hot grease, there’s a collective sense of relief. On the drive back to the shelter the boys eat until the gizzards are gone, and then drift off to sleep.
Christian says she knows she can’t afford to eat out and that fast food isn’t a healthy meal. But she’d felt too stressed—by time, by Jerimiah’s insistence, by how little money she has—not to supply in. “Maybe I can’t justify that to someone who wasn’t here to see, you know?” she says. “But I couldn’t let them down and not get the food.”
Of course it is possible to eat well cheaply in America, but it takes resources and know-how that many low-income Americans don’t have. Kyera Reams of Osage, Iowa, puts an incredible amount of energy into feeding her family of six a healthy diet, with the help of staples from food banks and $650 in monthly SNAP benefits. A stay-at-home mom with a high school education, Reams has taught herself how to can fresh produce and forage for wild ginger and cranberries. When she learned that SNAP benefits could be used to buy vegetable plants, she dug two gardens in her yard. She has learned about wild mushrooms so she can safely pick ones that aren’t poisonous and has lobbied the local library to stock field guides to edible wild plants.
“We wouldn’t eat healthy at all if we lived off the food-bank food,” Reams says. Many foods commonly donated to—or bought by—food pantries are high in salt, sugar, and fat. She estimates her family could live for three months on the nutritious foods she’s saved up. The Reamses have food security, in other words, because Kyera makes procuring food her full-time job, along with caring for her husband, whose disability payments provide their only income.
But most of the working poor don’t have the time or know-how required to eat well on little. Often working multiple jobs and night shifts, they tend to eat on the run. Healthful food can be hard to find in so-called food deserts—communities with few or no full-service groceries. Jackie Christian didn’t resort to feeding her sons fried gizzards because it was affordable but because it was easy. Given the dramatic increase in cheap fast foods and processed foods, when the hungry have money to eat, they often go for what’s convenient, just as better-off families do.
It’s a cruel irony that people in rural Iowa can be malnourished amid forests of cornstalks running to the horizon. Iowa dirt is some of the richest in the nation, even bringing out the poet in agronomists, who describe it as “black gold.” In 2007 Iowa’s fields produced roughly one-sixth of all corn and soybeans grown in the U.S., churning out billions of bushels.
These are the very crops that end up on Christina Dreier’s kitchen table in the form of hot dogs made of corn-raised beef, Mountain Dew sweetened with corn syrup, and chicken nuggets fried in soybean oil. They’re also the foods that the U.S. government supports the most. In 2012 it spent roughly $11 billion to subsidize and insure commodity crops like corn and soy, with Iowa among the states receiving the highest subsidies. The government spends much less to bolster the production of the fruits and vegetables its own nutrition guidelines say should make up half the food on our plates. In 2011 it spent only $1.6 billion to subsidize and insure “specialty crops”—the bureaucratic term for fruits and vegetables.
Those priorities are reflected at the grocery store, where the price of fresh food has risen steadily while the cost of sugary treats like soda has dropped. Since the early 1980s the real cost of fruits and vegetables has increased by 24 percent. Meanwhile the cost of nonalcoholic beverages—primarily sodas, most sweetened with corn syrup—has dropped by 27 percent.
“We’ve created a system that’s geared toward keeping overall food prices low but does little to support healthy, high-quality food,” says global food expert Raj Patel. “The problem can’t be fixed by merely telling people to eat their fruits and vegetables, because at heart this is a problem about wages, about poverty.”
When Christina Dreier’s cupboards start to get bare, she tries to persuade her kids to skip snack time. “But sometimes they eat saltine crackers, because we get that from the food bank,” she said, sighing. “It ain’t healthy for them, but I’m not going to tell them they can’t eat if they’re hungry.”
The Dreiers have not given up on trying to eat well. Like the Reamses, they’ve sown patches of vegetables and a stretch of sweet corn in the large green yard carved out of the cornfields behind their house. But when the garden is done for the year, Christina fights a battle every time she goes to the supermarket or the food bank. In both places healthy foods are nearly out of reach. When the food stamps come in, she splurges on her monthly supply of produce, including a bag of organic grapes and a bag of apples. “They love fruit,” she says with obvious pride. But most of her food dollars go to the meat, eggs, and milk that the food bank doesn’t provide; with noodles and sauce from the food pantry, a spaghetti dinner costs her only the $3.88 required to buy hamburger for the sauce.
What she has, Christina says, is a kitchen with nearly enough food most of the time. It’s just those dicey moments, after a new bill arrives or she needs gas to drive the kids to town, that make it hard. “We’re not starved around here,” she says one morning as she mixes up powdered milk for her daughter. “But some days, we do go a little hungry.”
Crops Taxpayers Support With Subsidies
How Subsidized Crops Affect Diet
Tracie McMillan is the author of The American Way of Eating and a Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. Photographers Kitra Cahana, Stephanie Sinclair, and Amy Toensing are known for their intimate, sensitive portraits of people.
The magazine thanks The Rockefeller Foundation and members of the National Geographic Society for their generous support of this series of articles.
Maps and graphics by Virginia W. Mason and Jason Treat, NGM Staff. Help for the Hungry, sources: USDA; Food Research and Action Center; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Stranded in a Food Desert, sources: USDA; City of Houston; U.S. Census Bureau. Crop Subsidies, research: Amanda Hobbs. Sources: Mississippi Department of Human Services; Environmental Working Group; National Cancer Institute.
What can you get for ten dollars?
Of the 5.9 million children who die each year, poor nutrition plays a role in at least half these deaths. That’s wrong. Hunger isn’t about too many people and too little food. It’s about power, and its roots lie in inequalities in access to resources and opportunities.
World hunger and food insecurity is a recurring problem in most parts of the developing world. Among the many potential biotechnologies that are available, and the different ways in which they can be applied, genetic modification (GM) of crops demands particular attention. Genetically modified crops possessing genes from different species, could possibly relieve global food shortages. Although initial excitement surrounded the use of GM crops -- that they will provide bigger and better harvests for farmers -- there are still questions about the benefits of such crops. In addition, the general public may not welcome the creation of "super plants" as a viable option in solving global hunger.
The environmental impact of GM crops is important with regard to creating food security in developing countries. Genetically modified crops can potentially fail to germinate; kill organisms other than pests that are beneficial to plants and reduce soil fertility; and potentially transfer insecticidal properties or virus resistance to wild relatives of the crop species.
A segment of the scientific community often proposes that export earnings from higher agricultural yields can contribute to reducing food insecurity and hunger in developing countries. However, there are many issues and challenges that beg the practicality of this proposal. A few crop varieties, specially created through biotechnology, can Strengthen yields, but biotechnology alone cannot solve the problem of hunger in the developing world.
Nevertheless, the potential advantages that biotechnology can confer across a wide range of agricultural applications are in areas such as livestock management, storage of agricultural products and sustaining current crop yields, while reducing the use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. The real challenge is whether we are smart enough to harness the benefits of biotechnological solutions. But what are these solutions?
Biotechnology offers a very promising alternative to synthetic foods and an improvement on conventional plant-breeding technologies. Combined with other advanced agricultural technologies, it offers an exciting and environmentally responsible way to meet consumer demand for sustainable agriculture. When the benefits of GM crops reach small and marginal farmers, more Green Revolutions may become a reality.
Combating Hunger and Malnutrition
Malnutrition is the related term in medicine for hunger. The most recent estimate of the Food and Agriculture Organization says that 854 million people worldwide are undernourished. This is 12.6 per cent of 6.6 billion people in the world. Many of the 854 million that are undernourished, children being the most visible victims, live in developing countries. Undernutrition magnifies the impact of every disease, including measles and malaria.
One example tells us how biotechnology can contribute to combating global hunger and malnutrition.
Approximately 140 million children in low-income groups in 118 countries, especially in Africa and South-East Asia, are deficient in Vitamin A. This situation has compounded into a public health challenge. The World Health Organization reports that an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 Vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight. Golden Rice, created by researchers in Germany and Switzerland, contains three new genes -- two from the daffodil and one from a bacterium -- that helps it to produce provitamin A. This rice is available as a possible option for mass distribution, in part due to the waiving of patent rights by biotechnology companies. This is just one among the hundreds of new biotech products, which point to the contributions of biotechnology to society.
Intellectual Property and Food Security
There are concerns about a technological landscape controlled almost exclusively by the private sector and defined by patent protection. Patents allow large, private firms substantial control over plant genes, which has worrisome implications. If farmers have to purchase seeds during every sowing season, it affects their income and food security. Although biotech companies such as Monsanto and AstraZeneca have announced that they would not commercialize the so-called "Terminator" or seed-sterilization technology, which is genetically designed to "switch off" a plant's ability to germinate a second time, the biotech industry collectively owns at least three dozen patents that control either seed germination or essential plant germination processes. This privatization of a plant's genetic resources puts not only agricultural research in developing nations at a disadvantage, but might ultimately threaten the livelihoods of a majority of small farmers in Africa, Latin America, and Asia who largely depend on seed saved from one crop to sow in the next.
In developing countries, there may be a potential negative impact from Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) over biotechnological products or the processes used in producing them. IPRs have been held not only by private companies, but also by some public organizations making it impossible to use any aspect of biotechnology for improving major crop species without infringing a patent somewhere in the process. Because of IPRs, it has not always been possible to separate the biotechnology prospects from the business interests involved. A major consequence of IPR in agricultural biotechnology is that many developing countries which have not yet invested in biotechnology may never be able to catch up in the future.
Sound decisions need to be based on diligent research. Biotechnology scientists are often highly specialized and technique-focused and may also need additional competency in handling the complicated issue of hunger and food security in developing countries.
Biotechnology holds tremendous possibilities for the developing world. The use of high-yielding, disease- and pest-resistant crops will have a direct bearing on improved food security, poverty alleviation and environmental conservation. GM crops will hopefully produce more yield on less land. This may increase the overall productivity and may offer developing countries a means to sustain themselves and reduce worldwide hunger. Ninety per cent of the world's 13.3 million "biotech crop farmers" are from developing countries. India, with 7.6 million hectares, is the fourth among the 14 "mega-biotech crop" countries. For instance, five million farmers in India are engaged in planting 7.6 million hectares of Bt or Bacillus thuringiensis, cotton, which protects itself from insects without requiring external pesticide. The shift to Bt cotton has been possible because of the 31 per cent increase in its yield, 39 per cent decrease in insecticide use, and higher profits equivalent to $250 per hectare.
It is now also possible using biotechnological approaches to increase the extraction of oil from a plant source up to 90 per cent. With the depletion of world hydrocarbon reserves, in the future it is probable that plant oils, such as biodiesel, may compete in terms of price and quality with oil, coal and gas.
The world's food supply is abundant, not scarce. The world's production of grain and other foods is sufficient to provide at least 4.3 pounds of food per person, per day. The real reason for hunger in the world is poverty, which often strikes women--the nutritional gatekeepers in many families--the hardest. Economists argue that resolving hunger requires political solutions and not just agro-technical solutions. According to them, instead of looking at biotechnology as a yet unproven and non-existent breakthrough, decision makers should look at the full body of research that shows that solutions to eliminate hunger are not technological in nature, but rooted in basic socio-economic realities. This is not to say that technology, including biotechnology, does not play a role in reducing, say, malnutrition, but there is no technology that can override the immediate political and social forces that keep people poor and hungry. The global biotechnology industry has funnelled a vast majority of its investment into a limited range of products that have large, secured markets in the First World -- products which are of little relevance to the needs of the world's hungry. Biotechnology has applications that can significantly solve the problem of world hunger. Green is the colour of agricultural biotechnology, of fertility, self-respect and well-being. In my opinion, policymakers should pragmatically consider modern biotech discoveries and assets as an important tool for solving the problem of global hunger.
The UN Chronicle is not an official record. It is privileged to host senior United Nations officials as well as distinguished contributors from outside the United Nations system whose views are not necessarily those of the United Nations. Similarly, the boundaries and names shown, and the designations used, in maps or articles do not necessarily imply endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.
The Institute of Internal Auditors is pushing back against part of a proposed new standard on audit confirmations from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, saying it would jeopardize the traditional relationship between internal and external auditors and criticizing the implication that internal auditors are untrustworthy.
IIA president and CEO Anthony Pugliese sent a comment letter Friday to the PCAOB acknowledging that "although the recommended policy change minimally impacts the provision of internal audit services, it represents a significant departure from the regulatory status quo regarding the relationship between internal and external auditors."
The IIA is objecting to a section of the PCAOB's proposed confirmation standard that states, "Involving internal auditors or other company employees in these activities would create a risk that information exchanged between the auditor and the confirming party is intercepted and altered."
He believes that implies internal auditors are "untrustworthy or incapable of exhibiting due care in the performance of their duties."
Pugliese also objected to comments in a Wall Street Journal article in which unnamed PCAOB officials were cited as saying that the goal of the proposed standard is "to make sure that internal auditors don't manipulate the confirmation requests before they go out or the responses after they come back."
Pugliese denounced that characterization as "false and inflammatory" and "completely unwarranted."
The PCAOB proposed the standard in December, replacing an interim standard that hasn't changed for two decades. The proposed auditing standard would take into account advances in auditing technology, but would apply to all methods of confirmation, including paper-based and electronic communications. The older interim standard is one of the many inherited by the PCAOB in 2003 from the American Institute of CPAs after the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 created the government-backed audit regulator (see story).
Pugliese objected to the proposal soon after it was issued in December, contending it would unfairly put internal auditors at the center of an effort to regulate issues within CPA firms (see story). However, the comment letter takes aim at the implications of the standard as far as the role of internal auditors, arguing that the proposed change in the standard was presented without any apparent explanation or evidence for the need for such a change.
The PCAOB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Previously, the PCAOB's standard for evaluating internal auditors has been the Accounting Standard 2605 (AS 2605), "Consideration of the Internal Audit Function," in which the PCAOB specifically acknowledges that "internal auditors maintain objectivity with respect to the activity being audited."
Pugliese contended the "incongruity between the PCAOB's positions in AS 2605 and the present proposal creates regulatory mixed messages" and "jeopardizes longstanding collaborations between external audit firms and internal auditors."
To address these issues, the letter calls upon the PCAOB to maintain AS 2605 as the standard for evaluating internal auditors' involvement in the confirmation process and to make modifications in the proposed language for the new standard.
"While the scope of responsibilities for each profession is different, internal and external auditors must work in harmony to ensure that the governance, risk and control processes are in place and adequately working," Pugliese wrote. "Disparagement of either audit function — particularly from a government regulatory agency — undermines this partnership and risks engendering public mistrust in the auditing profession."
He called for an open dialogue with PCAOB chair Erica Williams and other PCAOB members to discuss the internal audit profession's concerns about the proposal and to work together to address them.
1. Bulk up your meals. There's a lot of evidence that bulk -- that is, fiber -- reduces appetite. So turn up the volume with higher-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. These foods also tend to have a high water content, which helps you feel full.
2. Cool off your appetite with soup. Have a bowl of broth or vegetable-based soup (hot or cold) for a first course, and you'll probably end up eating fewer total calories at that meal. Creamy or high-fat soups need not apply for this job -- stick to the low-cal, high-fiber choices like minestrone or vegetable-bean type soups.
3. Crunch your appetite away with a big salad. One study found that when people had a large (3 cups), low-calorie (100 calories) salad before lunch, they ate 12% fewer calories during the meal. When they had a smaller salad (1 1/2 cups and 50 calories), they ate 7% fewer calories overall. You can make the same salads used in the study: Toss romaine lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, celery, and cucumbers together, and top with fat-free or low-fat dressing. But beware the fatty salad! Eating a high-calorie salad, even a small one, can encourage us to eat more calories at the meal than if we ate no salad at all.
4. Stay on course. A little bit of variety in our meals is good and even healthful. But having several courses during a meal can lead you down the wrong path. Adding an extra course to your meal (unless it's a low-calorie salad or broth-type soup) usually increases the total calories you consume for that meal.
5. An orange or grapefruit a day helps keep appetite away. Research suggests that low-calorie plant foods that are rich in soluble fiber -- like oranges and grapefruit -- help us feel fuller faster and keep blood sugars steady. This can translate into better appetite control. Of the 20 most popular fruits and vegetables, oranges and grapefruits are highest in fiber!
6. Get milk (or other low-fat dairy foods). Increasing your intake of low-fat dairy foods is a great way to get more of two proteins that are thought to be appetite suppressors -- whey and casein. And drinking milk may be especially effective. A recent study found that whey -- the liquid part of milk -- was better at reducing appetite than casein.
7. Have some fat with your carbs -- but not too much! When we eat fat, a hormone called leptin is released from our fat cells. This is a good thing when we're talking about moderate amounts of fat. Studies have shown that a lack of leptin (due to a very low-fat diet) can trigger a voracious appetite. Obviously, we want to do the opposite of that. But that doesn't mean we should opt for a high-fat meal. Research has found a higher frequency of obesity among people who eat a high-fat diet than among those who eat a low-fat diet.
8. Enjoy some soy. Soybeans offer protein and fat along with carbohydrates. That alone would suggest that soybeans are more satisfying and more likely to keep our appetites in control than most plant foods. But a recent study in rats suggests that a particular component in soybeans has definite appetite-suppressing qualities.
9. Go nuts. Nuts help you feel satisfied because of their protein and fiber content. A handful of these vitamin- and mineral-rich nuggets will hold you over between meals. But keep that handful small: Nuts are high in fat, even though it is the healthful monounsaturated kind.
10. Slow down, you're eating too fast. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is officially "comfortable" and that you should stop eating. If you eat slowly, the brain has a chance to catch up with the stomach, and you're less likely to overeat.
Since 1974, we have been working with volunteers to create awareness of hunger and inequality. Oxfam Hunger Banquets supply you the opportunity to make a difference, both locally and globally. They are volunteer-led interactive events that bring statistics about poverty to life. Guests randomly select tickets matching real people who are high-, middle-, or low-income earners, demonstrating that where you end up is all in the luck of the draw.
Purdue University promotes human and intellectual diversity by providing equal access and opportunity to a rich variety of populations and cultures. Did you know:
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Everyone is vulnerable in some way, whether it's to natural disasters, chronic diseases or hunger. But some are more at risk than others because of what they are exposed to socially, economically and environmentally. This phenomenon is known as social vulnerability. It refers to the attributes of society that make people and places susceptible to natural disasters, adverse health outcomes and social inequalities.
In terms of income distribution, South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world. The impact of COVID-19 on the economy has worsened this inequality and increased social vulnerability among poor people. Poverty is inherently associated with food insecurity—a state in which socially vulnerable people can't get enough nutritious and safe food.
Although these social inequalities are well documented in South Africa, not enough is known about the link between social vulnerability and food insecurity for the country as a whole.
Previous studies that investigated the relationship between social vulnerability and food insecurity have been limited to certain places, such as the poor and rural Eastern Cape province or the crowded urban area of Soweto. A better understanding of social inequalities at a national level might help the government provide social relief where it's needed most.
With this in mind, we conducted a nationally representative survey of the prevalence of social vulnerability in the country. We looked at a range of socio-economic, demographic and geographical variables to see who is socially vulnerable. We also investigated the associations between social vulnerability and household food insecurity.
We conducted our study in October 2021 with 3,402 individuals we recruited across the nine provinces of the country. We used a statistical technique to transform the demo of 3,402 into a nationally representative demo of 39.6 million people, aged 18 years and older.
We measured social vulnerability using a social vulnerability index tool developed by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which we adapted for South Africa.
We also used a modified version of the Community Childhood Hunger Identification Project questionnaire to quantify food insecurity.
All the respondents were asked:
The study showed high levels of social vulnerability in the country linked to food insecurity. Over 20.6% of the South Africans in our demo were socially vulnerable, and 20.4% food insecure. This amounts to about 7.8 million people out of our demo of 39.6 million people.
We also found that the most vulnerable groups in the country were Africans—as opposed to white people or people of Asian or mixed descent.
Also most vulnerable were
people living in rural areas
those with low socio-economic status
people without high school certificates
adults older than 45.
These findings are not surprising, given that these groups are known to have higher levels of poverty. But the findings are still important because they paint a troubling picture in which social inequality remains a major and persisting national challenge. It needs urgent and efficient solutions.
The government uses various initiatives to address social inequalities in the country to good effect. These include public education and health services, school feeding schemes and the tax exemption of staple foods such as brown bread and rice.
Social grants are the largest source of support for many vulnerable groups. They are the government's primary response to poverty, food insecurity and inequality.
The well-established grants system reaches 18.4 million beneficiaries (about 31% of the population).
Despite such efforts, social inequalities have consistently remained high. They are also unlikely to be eradicated with the current social initiatives because of several complex factors. These include the fact that social grants are unable to keep up with inflation in food prices.
Another problem is that recipients use the funds for many non-food necessities—such as clothing and transport costs. Other contributing factors are the gaps in the formulation and implementation of policies to address food insecurity.
There's also a lack of collaboration from different stakeholders in the food system. For example, policymakers often view food insecurity as a rural issue. So, a majority of initiatives to address the problem focus on solutions related to food production. Yet, urban areas are also vulnerable to food insecurity as they depend more on the cash economy than rural areas.
In view of our findings, government and other stakeholders need to implement creative and targeted social strategies to reduce and eliminate food insecurity in highly vulnerable groups. Improving the economy and education system should be the main areas of focus in addressing social inequalities in the country.
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Citation: Hunger in South Africa: Study shows 1 in 5 are at risk (2023, February 16) retrieved 19 February 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-02-hunger-south-africa.html
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