Children’s HealthWatch Founder and Principal Investigator Dr. Deborah Frank was quoted on The Diane Rehm Show.

Why Millions of Americans Go Hungry and How to Address Their Needs

This week many Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. But for millions of others, the holiday will mark another day of worrying how they’ll feed themselves and their children. On Nov. 1, a temporary boost in the federal food stamp program came to an end. Anti-hunger advocates across the country said they saw an almost immediate rise in the number of people at food pantries and soup kitchens. Congress is seeking billions of dollars in additional cuts over the next decade to the food assistance program, now known as SNAP. Diane Rehm spoke with representatives of anti-hunger organizations across the country about why so many Americans are not getting enough to eat.

In answering a question from the show’s listeners about how hunger can be a problem in the United States when few Americans are visibly starving to death, Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, quoted Dr. Deborah Frank. “Well, because of the food stamp program, starvation is virtually nonexistent in this country. We have sort of a low-grade fever of people not getting enough benefits, running out at the end of the month, not being able to purchase healthy diets. There’s a wonderful pediatrician named Debbie Frank who says that ‘food stamps are like a fabulous medicine for hunger, but Congress gives people a sub-therapeutic dose.’ So that’s why we don’t have starvation.” Children’s HealthWatch research and clinical experience has shown that hunger is not an ‘eyeball diagnosis’—the fact that it can remain hidden is exactly what makes it such a danger for health and development.

Click here to listen on the Diane Rehm Show website.