Monday, January 18, 2016
Nothing is more critical to people's health than food. Millions of Americans aren't always sure they'll get enough full and nutritious meals. Experts describe these people as "food insecure". This describes about 10 million people age 50 and older. It has almost doubled since 2001. The consequences of poor nutrition are devastating. 60% of older food insecure Americans are more likely to have depression. More then 50% of them are more likely to suffer a heart attack. There are three main reasons for food insecurity. PEOPLE CAN'T AFFORD IT. In a 2014 Gallup survey, 1 in 6 Americans said that they can't afford food at times within the past year. The average individual SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) enrollee gets only $127 a month. That amount is not even three-quarters of what the U.S. Department of Agriculture calculates is the minimum cost for a month of healthy meals. THEY CAN'T GET TO IT. The USDA describes area with limited or no access to fresh produce and other nutritious foods as "food deserts". About 23.5 million Americans live in this places. These areas are usually associated with economically depressed inner cities, but rural areas suffer as well. THEY DON'T BUY HEALTHY. The lower-income shoppers don't understand how to shop for the healthiest foods. Also, they don't realize the major importance to their health. Most often, lower-income shoppers have to settle for the cheapest food available. Millions of Americans are food insecure, but yet our country throws out between 30 to 40% of its food supply. Its worth is estimated to be $162 billion.