Food insecurity

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Food insecurity was named in the early 2000’s to describe the severity of lacking food sources. The United States Department of Agriculture has rated the level of food sources families have access to from high to moderate food security, and low to very low food security. The latter two are indicators of food insecurity. The USDA created these measurements along with precise definitions of each level in order to more efficiently determine policies and courses of action. The organization makes a distinction that food insecurity is the social and economic implications of having a limited supply of food and hunger is the physiological outcome of food insecurity resulting in illness. [1] Food security is measured by how much members of a household have access to nutritional food, and the capacity for obtaining food in the future through socially accepted means. Food insecurity on the other hand is characterized by the lack of and unreliable access to nutritional food sources. Measurements for hunger are more unclear and require deeper study, which is necessary to make correlations to food insecurity, and create effective policies. [2]



The American Psychological Association has stated that food insecurity is a serious threat to public health. In 2010 the [United States Department of Agriculture] found that over 17 million households in the United Sates suffered from food insecurity. [3] The rates were considerably higher for low-income single women with children. The percentage of food insecure families with children who were employed was 85% indicating that wages were not sufficient enough to afford adequate amounts of food. [4] The lack of food security is detrimental to the development of children as it leads to weak health, which can then affect behavior and psychological development. Children who do not receive proper nutrition score lower in school, showing an association between food insecurity and performance in school. [5] In some cases, obesity can be a result of food insecurity, this is because families can only afford nutrient deficient and unhealthy foods to feed every member of the household. These households consume less fruits, vegetables, and organic foods, and consume more sugars and fats.

Parents who struggle with economic and social issues such as food insecurity may develop depression and anxiety. This directly impacts children and can impair their mental and emotional development because of the lack of connection with the parent. Food insecurity forces parents to have conflict with providing health care, housing an energy, causing them to lose focus on creating emotional ties with their children. The weak attachment to parents causes children to not learn proper social functioning and cognitive competence. [6]



Globally

Underdeveloped countries are especially vulnerable to the dangers of food insecurity. Major causes of food insecurity in the third world include climate and environmental change, war and corruption, as well as disease and inadequate infrastructure for prosperity. Poverty becomes a viscous cycle, in which families are unable to get a steady supply of food, and therefor become weaker and less valuable to employers. Lack of proper construction of roads, buildings, and irrigation systems severely limits the amount of food production some countries are capable of. In contrast, over 1 billion tons of food are wasted yearly, while simultaneously draining limited natural resources, and releasing large quantities of [greenhouse gases] into the [atmosphere]. [7] As climate continues to change, poor countries are in danger of more sever droughts, storms, and floods, furthering the difficulties of growing crops and raising livestock. War causes food insecurity due to the displacement of large populations who flee conflicted areas and then have no access to food, as well as being used as a form of torture by corrupt militias who withhold food and destroy livelihoods. The dramatic increase of the world’s population continues to put more strain on these current causes of food insecurity. [8]




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References