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International Food Security Assessment, 2014-24

July 2, 2014 Comments off

International Food Security Assessment, 2014-24
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

The number of food-insecure people is projected to fall 9 percent to 490 million in 2014 from 539 million in 2013 in the 76 low- and middle-income countries included in the ERS report. Over the longer term, the food security situation is projected to deteriorate with the share of the population that is food insecure projected to reach 14.6 percent in 2024 up from 13.9 percent in 2014.

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Prevalence of U.S. Food Insecurity Is Related to Changes in Unemployment, Inflation, and the Price of Food

June 25, 2014 Comments off

Prevalence of U.S. Food Insecurity Is Related to Changes in Unemployment, Inflation, and the Price of Food
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

Food security has remained essentially unchanged since the 2007-09 recession. Falling unemployment from early post-recession (2009-10) to 2012, absent any other changes, would suggest a modest decline in the prevalence of food insecurity. However, this report finds that potential improvement was almost exactly offset by the effects of higher inflation and the higher relative price of food in 2012.

U.S. food aid reform 101: fact sheet

June 18, 2014 Comments off

U.S. food aid reform 101: fact sheet (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

Despite increasing demand for food assistance, particularly among vulnerable women and children, funding for FFP is declining. More people are in need of assistance than ever, especially as the lasting effects of drought are felt in places like Africa and refugees are fleeing fragile states. Making every food-aid dollar count is both a responsible use of taxpayer money and a moral imperative.

Food-aid reform efforts reflect a more responsive approach to global food assistance in a time of declining budgets. New, more efficient food-aid programs continue to buy American-grown commodities while adding the option to be flexible in using local and regional food purchases and cash vouchers for food where appropriate. In the recently passed bipartisan farm bill and the current fiscal year funding bill, efforts to make food aid more efficient were recognized by Congress. Unfortunately, the progress we’ve made to reform food aid is at risk.

The House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would keep 2 million people from receiving lifesaving food aid. This bill takes critical food-aid dollars away from hungry people to pay for the increased cost of transporting food. This subsidy to the world’s largest shipping companies was quietly inserted as a provision in the Coast Guard Reauthorization Bill for fiscal year 2015. This provision has nothing to do with the U.S. Coast Guard and is a blatant attempt by special interests to line their own pockets while more people overseas go hungry.

Alleviate hunger by passing immigration reform: fact sheet

June 13, 2014 Comments off

Alleviate hunger by passing immigration reform: fact sheet (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

• About one-third of undocumented immigrants live in poverty
• More than 21 percent, or one in 5, of undocumented immigrant adults live in poverty, which is twice the rate of U.S.-born adults
• More than half of the population within some undocumented immigrant communities live with food insecurity, and it’s particularly high among rural communities of unauthorized immigrants
• 70 percent of Latino immigrants struggle to put food on the table
• One-third of U.S.-born children of undocumented parents live in poverty—that’s almost twice the rate for the children of U.S.-born adults

Updated Resources Illustrate SNAP’s Important Role

June 11, 2014 Comments off

Updated Resources Illustrate SNAP’s Important Role
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

We’ve updated a trio of SNAP resources — our Chart Book, Policy Basic, and state fact sheets — that explain the program’s essential details, including who receives SNAP (formerly food stamps), how much it costs, how it responds to need, and how it encourages work.

These resources highlight SNAP’s role in providing essential food support to low-income households and local economies, which was particularly important during the economic downturn.

In fact, as our Chart Book illustrates, a CBPP analysis using the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which counts SNAP as income, found that SNAP kept about 4.9 million people out of poverty in 2012, including about 2.2 million children. National Poverty Center researchers found that counting SNAP benefits as income cuts the number of extremely poor households with children in 2011 by nearly half (see chart) and cuts the number of extremely poor children by two-thirds (from 3.6 million to 1.2 million).

Feed the Future Just Published a New Report – So What?

May 30, 2014 Comments off

Feed the Future Just Published a New Report – So What?
Source: USAID

We’ve never had data like this before for agriculture programs to really show what is happening as a result of what we’ve been doing. And we have a lot to show for it.

Last year we helped nearly 7 million farmers improve the way they work to adopt new and improved technologies and practices that help them grow more while using less land, water and other (often expensive) resources. We’ve also reached more than 12 million children with nutrition interventions designed to give them a healthy start to life so they have the same shot at being productive, happy adults as our children do. We’ve actually been able to replicate results similar to these for about two years now, so we’re really excited about taking them to scale now that we know our approach is working.

Fish more important than ever in providing jobs, feeding the world – UN report

May 21, 2014 Comments off

Fish more important than ever in providing jobs, feeding the world – UN report
Source: United Nations (Food and Agriculture Organization)

A new United Nations report highlights the growing role of fish and aquaculture in feeding the world and providing a source of income, and calls for the sustainable and responsible management of the so-called ‘blue world.’

Global fisheries and aquaculture production totalled 158 million tonnes in 2012 – around 10 million tonnes more than 2010 – according to the latest edition of “The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture,” produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The report highlights the great potential of fish farming in responding to the growing demand for food as a result of global population growth. In addition, the planet’s oceans – if sustainably managed – are crucial to providing jobs and feeding the world.

“The health of our planet as well as our own health and future food security all hinge on how we treat the blue world,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said in a news release.

Spotlight on Senior Health: Adverse Health Outcomes of Food Insecure Older Americans

April 28, 2014 Comments off

Spotlight on Senior Health: Adverse Health Outcomes of Food Insecure Older Americans
Source: Feeding America

The Spotlight on Senior Health: Adverse Health Outcomes of Food Insecure Older Americans research study documents the health and nutrition implications of food insecurity among seniors aged 60 and older. The study reveals that senior food insecurity is associated with lower nutrient intake and an increased risk for chronic health conditions.

Compared to food secure seniors, food insecure seniors are:

  • 60 percent more likely to experience depression
  • 53 percent more likely to report a heart attack
  • 52 percent more likely to develop asthma
  • 40 percent more likely to report an experience of congestive heart failure

In addition, Spotlight on Senior Health highlights that the senior population is particularly vulnerable to the negative health and nutrition implications of food insecurity compared to other adult age groups.

CRS — What Is the Farm Bill? (updated)

April 22, 2014 Comments off

What Is the Farm Bill? (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The farm bill is an omnibus, multi-year piece of authorizing legislation that governs an array of agricultural and food programs. Titles in the most recent farm bill encompassed farm commodity price and income supports, farm credit, trade, agricultural conservation, research, rural development, bioenergy, foreign food aid, and domestic nutrition assistance. Although agricultural policies sometimes are created and changed by freestanding legislation or as part of other major laws, the farm bill provides a predictable opportunity for policy makers to comprehensively and periodically address agricultural and food issues. The farm bill is renewed about every five years.

Fact Sheet: Hunger by the Numbers in the African-American Community: Employment, Wages, and Fairness

April 4, 2014 Comments off

Fact Sheet: Hunger by the Numbers in the African-American Community: Employment, Wages, and Fairness (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World

Ending hunger in America is possible. However, the return of income inequality on a scale that hasn’t been witnessed since the Great Depression—and the high poverty and hunger rates that accompany it—indicates that it’s time for the U.S. government to step up.

In 2012, the average incomes of the top 1 percent of households rose by 19.6 percent, while the incomes of the other 99 percent grew by just 1 percent. Economic inequality manifests itself in disproportionate rates of hunger and poverty among communities of color and children in particular. Following is an analysis of hunger and poverty within the African-American community and the connection to employment, wages, and fairness.

2013 Global Food Policy Report

March 20, 2014 Comments off

2013 Global Food Policy Report
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute

IFPRI’s flagship report examines the major food policy issues, developments, and decisions of 2013. It puts into perspective the year’s food policy successes and setbacks, and suggests how to advance policies that will improve the food situation for poor people in developing countries.

The Health Consequences of Senior Hunger in the United States: Evidence from the 1999-2010 NHANES

March 20, 2014 Comments off

The Health Consequences of Senior Hunger in the United States: Evidence from the 1999-2010 NHANES (PDF)
Source: National Foundation to End Senior Hunger

Millions of seniors are food insecure in the United States, meaning that scores do not have access to enough food at all times for an active, healthy life. What makes food insecurity an even more pressing issue is its association with a wide array of negative nutrition and health consequences. In our earlier reports on food insecurity among seniors (Ziliak et al., 2008; Ziliak and Gundersen, 2011) we documented that food insecure seniors, even after controlling for other factors, were at higher risk of experiencing negative nutrition and health consequences than food secure seniors.

In this report we build on those earlier findings in three main directions. Namely, we add in several new health outcomes; we use four more years of data ; and we examine how trends in health and nutrition outcomes among food secure and food insecure seniors have changed over the past decade. Using data from the 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), we considered the following outcomes related to nutrient intakes: energy intake, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and iron. The set of health outcomes we analyzed were diabetes, general health , depression, diabetes, ADL limitations, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, cancer, reports of chest pain, gum disease, psoriasis, asthma, having had a heart attack, and a self-report of gum health. Here we summarize some of our principal findings.

Relationships Between Housing and Food Insecurity, Frequent Mental Distress, and Insufficient Sleep Among Adults in 12 US States, 2009

March 18, 2014 Comments off

Relationships Between Housing and Food Insecurity, Frequent Mental Distress, and Insufficient Sleep Among Adults in 12 US States, 2009
Source: Preventing Chronic Disease (CDC)

Introduction
Housing insecurity and food insecurity may be psychological stressors associated with insufficient sleep. Frequent mental distress may mediate the relationships between these variables. The objective of this study was to examine the relationships between housing insecurity and food insecurity, frequent mental distress, and insufficient sleep.

Methods
We analyzed data from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 12 states. Housing insecurity and food insecurity were defined as being worried or stressed “sometimes,” “usually,” or “always” during the previous 12 months about having enough money to pay rent or mortgage or to buy nutritious meals.

Results
Of 68,111 respondents, 26.4% reported frequent insufficient sleep, 28.5% reported housing insecurity, 19.3% reported food insecurity, and 10.8% reported frequent mental distress. The prevalence of frequent insufficient sleep was significantly greater among those who reported housing insecurity (37.7% vs 21.6%) or food insecurity (41.1% vs 22.9%) than among those who did not. The prevalence of frequent mental distress was also significantly greater among those reporting housing insecurity (20.1% vs 6.8%) and food insecurity (23.5% vs 7.7%) than those who did not. The association between housing insecurity or food insecurity and frequent insufficient sleep remained significant after adjustment for other sociodemographic variables and frequent mental distress.

Conclusion
Sleep health and mental health are embedded in the social context. Research is needed to assess whether interventions that reduce housing insecurity and food insecurity will also improve sleep health and mental health.

Sustaining U.S. Leadership and Investments in Scaling Up Maternal and Child Nutrition

March 12, 2014 Comments off

Sustaining U.S. Leadership and Investments in Scaling Up Maternal and Child Nutrition (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

Nutrition creates a foundation for sustainable economic growth and good health. There is solid evidence that demonstrates that improving nutrition—particularly early in life, in the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and a child’s second birthday— can have a profound impact on a country’s long-term economic development and stability. Each year 3 million children die from causes related to malnutrition and more than 165 million children suffer from its consequences. Most live in just 36 countries. Because of the role that early nutrition plays in accelerating development and in the success of global food security, agricultural development, and health efforts, it is vital that the United States continues to show global leadership.

Promising Agricultural Technologies for Feeding the World’s Poorest

March 3, 2014 Comments off

Promising Agricultural Technologies for Feeding the World’s Poorest
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute

Increased demand for food due to population and income growth and the impacts of climate change on agriculture will ratchet up the pressure for increased and more sustainable agricultural production to feed the planet. A new report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) measures the impacts of agricultural innovation on farm productivity, prices, hunger, and trade flows as we approach 2050 and identifies practices which could significantly benefit developing nations.

Harmonizing Nutrition Monitoring and Evaluation Across U.S. Government Agencies

February 24, 2014 Comments off

Harmonizing Nutrition Monitoring and Evaluation Across U.S. Government Agencies (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

• Significant resources and political will are being mobilized for global nutrition. The new whole of U.S. government Nutrition Strategy being developed is an opportunity to unite departments and agencies behind a common nutrition goal.

• Under Feed the Future (FTF), the U.S. government is working to strengthen how evidence-based nutrition interventions are integrated into development projects working across sectors. Results and lessons learned from the first two years of FTF implementation need to be gathered, shared and applied across all relevant U.S. government funded programs.

• A monitoring and evaluation framework, operational and technical guidance as well as program tools for nutrition have been developed under FTF and the Global Health Initiative (GHI). These materials need to be harmonized and adapted for routine use by relevant departments and agencies.

• Sustained senior-level government commitment and increased in-house nutrition technical capacity in headquarters offices and the field will be key for the U.S. government to achieve its global nutrition objectives working across departments, agencies and initiatives.

The Food Assistance Landscape: FY 2013 Annual Report

February 21, 2014 Comments off

The Food Assistance Landscape: FY 2013 Annual Report
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

In this report, the Economic Research Service uses preliminary data from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to examine trends in U.S. food and nutrition assistance programs through fiscal 2013 (October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013) and ERS data to examine trends in the prevalence and severity of household food insecurity in the United States through 2012.

The global landscape of poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition and implications for agricultural development strategies

December 24, 2013 Comments off

The global landscape of poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition and implications for agricultural development strategies
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute

For many years poverty reduction was the overarching welfare objective of a wide range of development institutions and programs, particularly in the context of agricultural development. Yet in recent years the development community has increasingly set for itself more specific welfare objectives by distinguishing between monetary poverty, food security, nutrition and, most recently, resilience. This paper first outlines a basic framework for thinking about the relationships between these different concepts, and then explores the empirical relationships among different indicators of these concepts, and some of their potential determinants. The empirical analysis highlights several important stylized facts. First, key indicators of these three dimensions of welfare suggest strong correlations among the subset of chronic welfare indicators but much weaker relationships between chronic and acute measures of welfare. Put another way, many countries are chronically poor, food insecure or malnourished, but a much smaller set of countries suffer from acute ill-being. For example, countries in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and South Asia suffer disproportionately from high rates of child and maternal wasting, and a relatively small subset of developing countries are highly prone to natural disasters. Conceivably these acutely vulnerable countries require quite different development strategies. Second, gross domestic product per capita, agricultural productivity, literacy rates, fertility rates, and health burdens all share fairly robust relationships with poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition indicators, as expected. But somewhat novel is a strong relationship between a simple indicator of dietary diversity and a wide range of both chronic and acute welfare indicators. This perhaps suggests that dietary diversity is a relevant intermediate welfare indicator of particular relevance for agricultural development initiatives.

Strengthening SNAP for a More Food-Secure, Healthy America

December 20, 2013 Comments off

Strengthening SNAP for a More Food-Secure, Healthy America
Source: Brookings Institution

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. In this new discussion paper the author proposes to subsidize healthy foods in order to encourage better nutrition among SNAP recipients and to reform eligibility and payment rules to enable SNAP to better fight hunger and support program beneficiaries.

CRS — Reauthorization of SNAP and Other Nutrition Programs in the Next Farm Bill: Issues for the 113th Congress

December 17, 2013 Comments off

Reauthorization of SNAP and Other Nutrition Programs in the Next Farm Bill: Issues for the 113th Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The 113th Congress is considering the next “farm bill” and the reauthorization of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other nutrition programs within that legislation. The 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246) and a one-year extension have now expired. In the first session of the 113 th Congress, conference committee deliberations have begun based on the Senate’s conference proposal (S. 954) and the House’s conference proposal (H.R. 2642, amended to include Nutrition-only bill H.R. 3102). (Though the authorizations of appropriations for SNAP and other programs are currently expired, operati ons continue due to funding provided through appropriations.)

As conference proceeds, one of the challenges facing policymakers is the difference between the SNAP provisions. Over the ten-year budget window (FY2014-FY2023), CBO estimates that the Senate’s Nutrition Title would reduce spending by approximately $4 billion and that the House’s Nutrition Title would reduce spending by approx imately $39 billion. The House proposal would reauthorize SNAP and related programs for three years, while the Senate would reauthorize the programs for five years.

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