Friday, February 4, 2011

Hunger and Obesity in America

I was looking at the back of my Hot Pockets frozen food package today, and was surprised to find out that "1 in 6 Americans is struggling with hunger".  First of all, I would think that it should say, "1 in 6 Americans are struggling with hunger", since they certainly don't mean that just one person is struggling.  At least they got the plural "Americans" right.

Click image for a larger version

But anyway, do you really believe that the dark horse of hunger is attacking 1 out of every 6 people in our country?  And why would that be the case when you can get free food just about everywhere, from food stamps, to soup kitchens for the homeless, to special canned food drives, to food banks for the poor, to free school breakfasts and lunches -- I could go on and on.

America is awash with food.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 74 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese, and the problem is "expanding" over time.  I don't think being overweight is consistent with starving.

Since "1 in 6" is about 17 percent, I guess very few of us are actually normal -- maybe around 9 percent.

What a wonderful political constituency that implies:  Ninety-one percent of the American populace are food-challenged (either too much or too little) and therefore are in need of new government programs and laws and perhaps even a new government agency to manage their food intake.

We just don't know how to take care of ourselves.  The government needs to regulate the availability of food and how much we eat.  They should make food free, just like medical care, but then require a government prescription/smart-card that controls how much and what kind you get, instead of having food dangerously available over the counter.

 Obesity in America - Click image for animated version over time

If the program saves just one child, it is worth it, right?

Well, I know one thing for sure.  If 1 in 6 Americans are going hungry, no one should be sending any food overseas.  Terminate all foreign aid until we can feed our own people.


  1. Of course, "struggling with hunger" and obesity aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. Morbidly obese people can't quell their hunger.

  2. I don't think the HotPockets people are including morbidly obese people in the category "struggling with hunger". After all, their solution is the donation of one million meals to "Feeding America". But the obese people are almost certainly a bigger health concern. Maybe the company should start making HotPockets out of flavored sawdust. That should help.

  3. It is actually possible to be obese and malnourished. There are a lot of cheap fatty foods that have almost no nutritional value. You won't die of starvation, but this type of malnutrition does cause serious developmental problems.