News

Many chronically ill Americans unable to afford food, medicine

(Reuters Health) – One in three Americans with a chronic disease such as diabetes, arthritis or high blood pressure has difficulty paying for food, medications or both, according to a new study.

People who had trouble affording food were four times more likely to skip some of their medications due to cost than those who got plenty to eat, researchers found.

“This leads to an obvious tension between ‘milk’ or ‘med,’” said Dr. Niteesh Choudhry, who worked on the study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “If you have a fixed income, should you treat or should you eat?”

To read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/30/us-chronic-americans-idUSBREA0T16X20140130

 

 

 

Senate passes farm bill, cuts food stamps/SNAP

The Senate passed a farm bill on Tuesday that ends direct subsidies for farmers and trims $90 a month from food stamps for 850,000.

The House had already passed the nearly $1 trillion farm bill that will set agriculture policy for the next five years. President Obama has said he would sign it into law.

The bill could be passed before the spring planting season. That’s significant because farmers need to know early how it might affect prices and what to expect for their corn, wheat or tobacco yields.

The bill changes the current agricultural subsidy system that’s been in place 80 years.

For more:  http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/04/news/economy/food-stamps-farm-bill/index.html

 

Start-ups, organizations take on America’s food waste challenge

According to the USDA, 30 to 40 percent of the food produced in America goes uneaten. A report from West Virginia on how new businesses have emerged to help kitchens reduce food waste while turning a profit.

For more:  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/environment/jan-june14/foodwaste_01-26.html

In wealthy Orange County, a campaign to waste less to help feed hungry kids

California’s Orange County is home to some of the wealthiest Americans, as well as more than 150,000 children who don’t know where their next meal will come from. This is a report on how the county is trying to address and combat the serious health effects of malnutrition for the OC’s neediest residents.

For more: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/jan-june14/hunger_01-24.html

“Hunger, obesity and stress – three things that go hand in hand for low income families”

“Studies suggest that hunger — even if it’s only experienced for brief periods during childhood and adolescence — can lead to outcomes that last a lifetime, including… obesity…When you look at dietary indicators, and what households are eating, we find that those who are food insecure are more likely to eat high calorie, dense foods — your chips, potatoes, processed meats — and much less fruits and vegetables. And it’s not hard to realize that it comes down to finances. Lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables are much more costly and perishable. It’s easier to stretch your food dollars much further if you have the inexpensive, high-calorie, dense foods.”

For more: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2014/01/why-stress-and-money-woes-may-lead-to-weight-gain.html

7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference

The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Powering Up will be held April 15-18, 2014 in Austin, TX. The Conference convenes a diverse group of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement- more than 1,000 food service professionals, farmers, educators, youth leaders, policy makers, advocates, state/federal agency professionals, entrepreneurs, public health professionals and others- working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America. Cafeterias in schools, universities, prisons, hospitals and childcare centers serve more than 40 million Americans every day during the school year, placing the farm to cafeteria movement at the forefront of the fight to end obesity and strengthen local food systems.

For more information and registration: .http://farmtocafeteriaconference.org/7/

Strengthening SNAP for a More Food-Secure, Healthy America

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the fundamental safety-net program in the United States. Over its fifty-year history, it has effectively reduced hunger and buffered American families against economic downturns. This paper provides an overview of SNAP’s shortcomings, and a proposed detailed policy agenda to improve SNAP’s effectiveness.

The author proposes subsidizing healthy foods in order to encourage better nutrition among SNAP recipients and reforming eligibility and payment rules to enable SNAP to better fight hunger and support program beneficiaries.

For more:
http://www.hamiltonproject.org/files/downloads_and_links/THP_Schanzenbach_Brief_Final.pdf

Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

“Faith, the White House, and the Public Square”, held in McCord Auditorium of Southern Methodist University, was a panel discussion on the work of the White House Faith-Based office to form partnerships between the Federal Government and faith-based and neighborhood organizations to more effectively serve Americans in need. For video of the discussion, see http://c-spanvideo.org/program/Basedan

US Conference of Mayors Hunger and Homelessness Survey 2013

This report presents the results of a survey of 25 of the cities whose mayors serve on The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness. Officials were asked to provide information on the extent and causes of hunger and homelessness in their cities, and the emergency food assistance and
homeless services provided, between September 1, 2012 and August 31, 2013. They also were asked for their assessment of the demand for services and the resources available to them in the year ahead. This year’s survey found continuing increases in demand for services and continuing shortfalls in meeting service needs. Among its key findings:

Hunger

  • All but four of the survey cities (83 percent) reported that requests for emergency food assistance increased over the past year. Three cities said requests remained at the same level as the previous year and one said they decreased. Across the survey cities, emergency food assistance requests increased by an average of 7 percent.
  • Among those requesting emergency food assistance, 58 percent were persons in families, 43 percent were employed, 21 percent were elderly, and 9 percent were homeless.
  • Unemployment led the list of causes of hunger cited by the survey cities, followed by low wages, poverty, and high housing costs.

 

For the rest of the report, go to http://www.usmayors.org/pressreleases/uploads/2013/1210-report-HH.pdf.