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Food Insecurity - Essay Example

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This paper focuses on the disturbing issue of food insecurity and its prevalence in the United States of America. Single females have been chosen as the community under study and an attempt is made to concentrate on the causes as well as the various schemes launched by the government to tackle this health hazard…
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Food Insecurity
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Download file to see previous pages As far as hard statistics go, the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) estimates that over 852 million people in the world struggle from chronic hunger, while a much larger 2 billion faces constant fear of starvation due to poverty (FAO,2003). Being the most basic of necessities, providing easy and affordable access to nutritious food is paramount to stopping deaths due to hunger, malnutrition, and diseases worldwide.
While the issue of food insecurity plagues primarily the developing and developed countries, the developed world isn't immune to it altogether. In the United States, 10.9% of the households were food insecure at least some time during the year, of which, 4.0% were very food insecure for some time during the year (United States Department of Agriculture,2007). The states with the highest food insecurity during 2004-06 were Mississippi (18.1%), New Mexico (16.1%), and Texas (15.9%), while North Dakota (6.4%) had the lowest food insecurity. (Household Food Security in the United States, 2006
Food insecurity in United States households is usually recurrent or episodic, but not chronic (unlike that in developing and undeveloped countries). This means that these households faced shortage and anxiety over food for not more than 1 or 2 months, and not the whole year round. Some particular household groups are more susceptible to food insecurity than others, with prevalence of food insecurity much higher than the national average. These groups include households headed by single women (30.4%), and single men (17.0%), Black (21.8%) and Hispanic (19.5%) households. Households with income below the official poverty line had the highest prevalence of food insecurity (36.3%). Of the 12.6 million households with food insecurity, 10.32 million live in metropolitan areas, making the access to a nutritious source of food a non-issue (USDA, 2007). Thus, food insecurity in these metropolitan areas results primarily from poverty or occasional natural causes (such as natural disasters), unlike undeveloped and developing countries where food availability and not affordability is a major cause of food insecurity.
Women, due to their roles in managing family feeding are at heightened risk of food insecurity. Lower levels of education and inequality in terms of employment opportunities, as well as biological factors such as pregnancy and childbirth make single women without spouses especially susceptible to the consequences of food insecurity. The median income of single women over 16 yearsin the United States is $22,097, compared to $32,396 for males (United States Community Survey, 2006). Consequently, households headed by single women also show a much larger deviation in terms of food insecurity than the national average (30.4% compared to the national average of 10.9%). Poor education is one of the primary causes for this deviation, as the median income of single females with less than high school education is $13,255, compared to $49,164 for single females with graduate or professional degrees.
Children are another major cause of poverty and the resulting food insecurity in households headed by single women with no spous ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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