September is Hunger Action Month and September 10 is Hunger Action Day. This whole month, we are focusing on infant hunger and what it means for our community.
But first, a definition - What IS hunger anyway?
Hunger is when a person is unable to eat sufficient food to meet nutritional needs. In 2006, the US government shifted its focus to "food security" - the ability to access preferred foods in sufficient quantities on a regular basis.
We talk a lot about hunger in other countries, but it's important to know that hunger is right here in our community.
When a family is experiencing low food security - or food insecurity - they have irregular access to enough food. In many cases, families might be food secure one week and food insecure the next, while they are waiting for their next paycheck.
In the chart to the right, we see indicators of food insecurity among adults. Even those adults in food secure households reported that food did not last, or they were worried it would run out. It's also important to note that almost ALL adults with low food security said they could not afford a balanced meal. We keep talking about healthy eating habits, but that's somewhat unfair when a lot of families are unable to afford more nutritionally balanced foods.
Food security by the numbers
The chart below shows us how many US households with children experienced food insecurity last year - 14% or 1 in 7 households.
Texas is ranked third in the nation for food insecurity (behind Arkansas and Mississippi), with 15% of households reporting food insecurity.
For households with children, that number is much different.
Right now in the Houston area, 1 in 4 children live in a household with low food security.