Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How are Americans so hungry, yet so fat?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 9:42 AM

The feds have released a new report detailing how American hunger rates are at 15-year highs. But, you might wonder, how can that be when so many of us are so fat?

I've been wondering the same damn thing. And, after reading numerous books and articles on the topic, here's what I think: We eat a lot of crap that looks like food, but it really isn't food. Why? Because it's cheap, easy to find, easy to prepare and — did I say cheap? It's also full of chemicals you wouldn't normally eat and barely resembles what our ancestors would think of as food. Oh, and a lot of it is addictive. It's full of sugar, fat, salt, white flour, artificial colors and flavors and it's highly processed so we'll have emotional reactions to it and want more, more, more. Also, we're lazy. We are. We don't walk anywhere anymore and we hover over our blinky electronic screens most of the day. It's no wonder so many of us are so fat.

But, why are so many people hungry? The short answer: They're broke. Even with governmental assistance, there are moms and dads out there not eating so their kids can eat instead.

Excuse me? What in the hell is going on? On one end of the spectrum, we have so much cheap crap food that most of us are fat, and on the other end we've got people going hungry?

That doesn't make any sense. This is America. We're part of the richest, most cocksure nation on the globe. No one should be going hungry. No one.

What are we going to do to fix these problems, people?

Here's a suggestion: Community gardens. Everyone helps out, everyone benefits.

Here's another suggestion: Get out from behind your screens and pay attention to the people around you. What can you do to make life in your community better for everyone? It often doesn't take much effort to make a big difference.

Remember that as you load up on food for your family's holiday feasts. Buy a few extras and deposit them at area food collection locations, will ya?

Further reading: One in Four Americans is Enrolled in a Government Food Program — ABC

Here's Joel Berg, a nationally recognized hunger expert, explaining how we got here and how we can do better:

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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