Children’s HealthWatch Principal Investigator, Mariana Chilton, was featured in a USA Today article on the “silent crisis” of rising food insecurity in the US.
Hunger is a ‘silent crisis’ in the USA
“Despite the end of the Great Recession, food insecurity rates are high,” says Craig Gundersen, an economist and executive director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois, who studies hunger and compiled the research in a new report by Feeding America, a hunger-relief charity.
Poverty, which contributes to hunger, has remained stubbornly high, he says. The poverty rate — defined by the federal government as annual income of $23,550 for a family of four — is 15%.
Those most at risk of empty refrigerators and growling tummies are the 10 million people who make up the working poor, says Mariana Chilton, a public health professor at Drexel University School of Public Health and the director of the school’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities.
She says reductions in government programs such as food stamps coupled with rising costs of food, housing and utilities force poor families to choose between buying food and paying bills.
Preliminary data show that the cuts are affecting families, Chilton says. Children’s HealthWatch, a network of doctors and public health researchers who collect data on children up to 4 years old, says 29% of the households they track were at risk of hunger last year, compared with 25% the year before.