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Thread: USDA eliminates word "hungry" from description

  1. #1
    Elite Member JamieElizabeth's Avatar
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    Default USDA eliminates word "hungry" from description

    Dec. 6, 2006, 11:59PM
    An uncomfortable word
    The USDA eliminates the word "hungry" from its description of Americans short on food.

    Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle


    Here in the world's most affluent country, there was good news last month. The number of Americans who can't always depend on having enough to eat declined in 2005. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "food insecure" households dropped by 8 percent. The number of food insecure Americans is now 35 million.

    There was also downright bad news. The number of households with "very low food security" remained static, at 3.9 percent. "Very low food security" means that the eating patterns of one or more people in that household have been disrupted — and cut back— through lack of money.

    There is also a more vivid term for this experience. It's commonly known as "hunger." The USDA, however, for the first time has eliminated that word from its annual survey, released Nov. 15.

    The agency's motivation might have been purely scientific. Two years ago, USDA asked the National Academy of Sciences to review its methodology for measuring access to food. This fall, the scientists delivered their report; among other things, they concluded that "hunger" didn't accurately describe the experience of disrupted eating caused by poverty.

    Hunger, the panel pointed out, denoted an individually-experienced sensation: "discomfort, illness, weakness or pain" caused by food deprivation. How could researchers know without interviews whether each American with an empty wallet and pantry experienced those symptoms?

    As a result, the USDA restated its findings: that 3.9 percent of U.S. households remain, just as they were last year, "food insecure with hunger." Today these households are simply "very low food secure."

    Scientifically speaking, the scientists were right. But the purpose of the food security survey is not only clinical. It's a document that helps Americans gauge their priorities and success in meeting them. For that reason, the document's language has become far less precise than it was before.

    It certainly doesn't describe the 16 percent of Texans who needed agencies such as the Houston Food Bank last year. In the Houston area alone, these people took home 38 million pounds of food to keep their families afloat.

    True, it's unknowable how many of the adults the Food Bank assisted felt "discomfort" or "illness." One can only guess how many of their children really felt "weakness" or "pain."

    But knowing they were, in the colloquial sense, hungry was enough to get the Food Bank's donors and volunteers to give of themselves. How tragic if, by dropping the word "hunger" from its reporting, the USDA keeps even one potential contributor from realizing that millions of Americans often are too poor to eat.
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...l/4384540.html

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I'm not hungry, I am nutritionally challenged!

    I'm not homeless, I am residentially challenged!

    I'm not poor, I am financially challenged!

    I'm not dying of terminal cancer, I'm health challenged to a large degree!
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member JamieElizabeth's Avatar
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    Yeah, the US must be a lot different from Canada or at least whatever Providence where you are in. I think that they're saying people have taken advantage of the system. Do you know how many poor people are fat? It is really from eating all the hand-outs, which is mainly breads and sataurated foods.

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    Gold Member ohmygoodness's Avatar
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    *province

    I think that's just stupid. Hungry is hungry.

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    SVZ
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    I remember in Geo class there are set definitions.

    Chronic hunger is different from hunger, and I think malnutrition and chronic malnutrition is in there as well (ie a person can eat a pound of rice and not be hungry but still suffer from malnutrition)

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SVZ View Post
    I remember in Geo class there are set definitions.

    Chronic hunger is different from hunger, and I think malnutrition and chronic malnutrition is in there as well (ie a person can eat a pound of rice and not be hungry but still suffer from malnutrition)
    True enough. Remember rickets, beri-beri, and other nutrition related diseases? It is sad that poorer people have access to mainly crap food. I really do not blame them for indulging in crap food(and liquor) if they can get it. So many people are trapped in endless cycles of poverty they need something to help take them away from the abject misery that is their lives. The chances of improving their lives is so low they might as well just deaden the pain till the inevitable end.
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

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    Silver Member Biatch's Avatar
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    The fact is - someone is trying to paint this world in a rosier colour than it is in reality.
    There is HUNGER in the world - and not because of lazyness.

    Very hypocritycal of USDA--food insecure my ass !!!
    Give them non-modified starch,meat and fibre ...so you have no fat population and invest in programs for new food alternatives...lower the prices and remove the additives and you have healthier and less HUNGRIER people.
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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    And the oprahs and the jolie's of the world would rather spend their cash in foreign countries.

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    Silver Member LastLook's Avatar
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    Jesus, how many ways can we whore ourselves out with marketing schemes, to make things appear "not as bad" as they are? wtf? This is like newspeak, doublespeak, whatever. Give me a break. I want to slap all the people who come up with this horseshit, and every idiot who swallows it.
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    SVZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by LastLook View Post
    Jesus, how many ways can we whore ourselves out with marketing schemes, to make things appear "not as bad" as they are? wtf? This is like newspeak, doublespeak, whatever. Give me a break. I want to slap all the people who come up with this horseshit, and every idiot who swallows it.
    Unperson!!!!

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    Silver Member LastLook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SVZ View Post
    Unperson!!!!

    Umm...Allegiance to the party!
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    Elite Member twitchy's Avatar
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    So June 6 2007 will now be National Very Low Food Secure Awareness Day?

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