The other side of the coin: food insecurity

America is well known for it’s abundance of food and related health implications, but there’s another side to the story, which is quite bad as well: the national average of food insecurity is almost 15%. In many of the southern states, the number is closer to 20%.

What’s so crazy about it is that most of the states that have the highest rates are also the states with the highest rates of obesity and overweight. And, when a poor family goes shopping for 10 dollars, are they going to spend it on a squash and two heads of broccoli, or a basket full of processed crap that will at least fill everyone’s bellies? Even I would go for the latter, if I had kids to feed. Actually, I don’t know what I would do.

The article that I read did indeed report that food-insecure parents that were interviewed were very likely to say that the price was too high, and the quality too poor (?) for them to buy fruits and vegetables.

 

In North Dakota, which is of course not one of the southern states, the issue is real, too. There, they started the “Hunger Free Garden Project”, which connects the products of gardens to neighbors in need. (Collaboration is again key). Since it began in 2010, they’ve provided more than 3 million servings of fruit and vegetables to food insecure families in ND!

 

Another success story, from Georgia (which is south): a school nutrition director saw an opportunity with the passage of the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids” act, that schools could receive federal reimbursement for student dinners. The lady that seized the opportunity obviously knew that there’s a strong connection between nutritional intake and academic performance.

 

Now, imagine the scenario if you’re a T2 diabetic in a situation where you’re struggling with hunger (the food insecurity itself might even have been a contributing factor as to why the disease manifested itself). How would you, the way things are today, balance your blood sugar by means of a healthy diet? Costly medical bills won’t really make the situation better. In Ohio, they’ve started a 3-year Diabetes Initiative Project, where the food banks have created programs that identify people with T2D, and provide them with diabetes-appropriate food boxes, educates them, and assists them with any health care referrals that they may need. How great?

 

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