American hunger

When you hear the same story from three different sources, you know there are rumors flying around. I heard, that one seventh of America is dealing with hunger. At first, I thought it was the prelude to a snickers commercial. Nope, the rumor is that Americans are going hungry in this recession.

I thought, “that can’t be true, according to the CDC 67% of Americans are over-weight”.  What does that really mean? Two third of Americans have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 25,  thus considered either over-weight or obese. Just for the record, this guy,  is considered”over-weight” by the CDC. Yes, Lebron James , Darlene Cates and 67% of Americans are in the same category. They use a very crude tool, covering a huge range of results, to make generalizations that are intended to sway public policy.

Yes, I know you can be over-weight, and under-nourished. But the story isn’t about nutrition, it’s about hunger. So what exactly does the survey mean by “hunger”?  They mean “low or very low food security“.

  • Low food security—Households reduced the quality, variety, and desirability of their diets, but the quantity of food intake and normal eating patterns were not substantially disrupted.
  • Very low food security—At times during the year, eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake reduced because the household lacked money and other resources for food.

Lets review…if, during the past year, you said to your spouse, “left overs again? those are a couple of days old, I’m tired of it, I think we should go out to eat,” and the answer was “no, we should stay home, let’s be frugal and not like those rat-bastards at Goldman-Saks”…then, you qualify for Low food security. These answers are so broad, they are meaningless.

Now American will think, “oh no, the recession must be bad, one out of seven families are going hungry” because they saw a flashy  headline for an article that doesn’t explain how meaningless the conclusion is.  Damn, we are self-centered. I hope the rest of the world doesn’t get this report, because some people in the world, are actually starving. (Please see this wonderful, beautiful and educational photo essay on what people eat around the world. Grossest thing, from the UK. )

I know there are real food issues in America,  the FAO puts the number at 15 million in developed countries, but let’s not confuse the issue by using misleading statistics.

“lies, damned lies, and statistics” – B. Disraeli


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