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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Food Choices and Insecurity

Empty Bowls

This post is part of World Blog Action Day and World Food Day
When I started this blog, I knew I wanted to write about food, Real Food, how food can be both simple and nourishing. I never dreamed that I would be writing about food issues, but some of m most popular posts have been about the problem with food. But I am lucky, I live in a country where I can not only write about the problem with food but I have options. Earlier today I complained “whined” if you will about the food that was available for me at a luncheon I went to. I had understood ahead of them that there would be something that I could eat with my dietary restrictions, Gluten Free and Dairy Free.  Unfortunately for me the lunch was Lasagna and Caesar Salad(with both crotons and parmesan cheese). A perfectly lovely meal but not for me. I am trying to adhere to gluten free and dairy free to reduce the side effects that I suffer from as a result of consuming these foods. Those side affects being allergies, digestive, and psoriatic arthritis.
But I am lucky. I am lucky that I have choices. Many people around this world have no choice about the food that is available or not to them. They are lucky to have food at all. Around the world people go hungry everyday. Worldwide around 852 million people are chronically hungry due to extreme poverty, while up to 2 billion people lack food security intermittently due to varying degrees of poverty. Six million children die of hunger every year - 17,000 every day. That is right people hunger kills more children a year than. That is more than the number who die in a year from the next top five causes of death. The overwhelming majority of deaths of children in the world are caused by under nutrition. Under nutrition is akin to malnutrition, but in this case children consume just enough calories to live but not thrive. Under nutrition  is an underlying cause of 53% of all deaths in children younger than age 5 years.
Many people around the world suffer from what is called food insecurity. The United Nations defines food security as "all people at all times having  both physical and economic access to the basic food they need." For approximately 2 billion people throughout the world, this security is anything but guaranteed. Food security is a complicated issue that is susceptible to many forces.
Causes of Food Insecurity
  • Climate change,
  • urban development,
  • population growth
  • oil price shifts that are interconnected and rarely confined by borders.
  • corrupt governments, this is a problem particular in some African countries. 
  • of over reliance on one crop. When there is a problem with your primary crop you have nothing to fall back on. (Anyone remember the Irish Potato Famine?)
  • income inequality is amongst the worst in the world, with indigenous communities at a particular disadvantage. This happens here in the United States as well as countries like Guatemala.
  • Lack of access to food stores/sources.
  • Lack of transportation. The majority of those without access to adequate food live in what are called food deserts. A food desert is defined as an area with limited access to retail grocery stores, and healthy food. We often think of food deserts as being an inner city phenomena but they are prevalent in rural areas.
Access to food is not only a problem in developing countries but it is a problem in the United States. According to the USDA
  • In 2010, 85.5 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the entire year, and 14.5 percent of households were food insecure at least some time during that year. The difference in the percentage of food insecure households from the 2009 estimate (14.7 percent) was not statistically significant.
  • In 2010, 5.4 percent of households experienced food insecurity in the more severe range, described as very low food security, down from 5.7 percent in 2009.
So did I truly suffer today when the meal provided at church was not something that I could eat? No I managed to find something on the table to eat. It was much smaller than what a meal would be. But I did have access to food, there was plenty available for all to eat. Yes it would have made me sick to eat the majority of the food there, but I had options, and I had transportation, I had access to food sources. I was able to drive to a store that had plenty of healthy options for me. For most of you reading this post you have options. You can choose what to eat or what not to eat. You can choose what “diet” to follow or not to follow. You can choose to be a vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian. We should consider ourselves lucky.
for more information on Food Insecurity check out
Pulitzer Center
Technorati Tags: ,world blog action day

1 comment:

Grandma Bonnie said...

Very interesting post. Thank you for sharing this information. Food insecurity is a new term for me. Stopping by from Mingle Monday.

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