Food Insecurity and the Obesity Epidemic: A Political Economy Perspective

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (n.d.). In 2007, Food insecurity impacted 15.8 million persons in the U.S.. At least 8.3 percent of these households consisted of children experiencing food insecurity. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that at least .8 percent of such households had irregular meal schedules, which is considered a severe case of food insecurity according to USDA standards. These dangerous levels of food supply increased from earlier findings at 0.5 percent in 1999 and 0.7 percent in 2006. In the U.S., food insecurity levels reached 17.6 million households. In addition, 7 million households experienced food shortages which caused at least one or more family members to reduce their food intake.

Obesity Epidemic
Obesity Epidemic

Adults with children in food insecure environments were more likely to have full time jobs, less than half were not high school graduates and more likely to reside in large cities or rural areas. However, during the recent recession, suburban areas showed substantive increases in food insecurity and resulted in greater usage of food assistance programs.


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