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Poverty and Nutrition in America

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For most Americans, the word poverty means insufficient access to to housing, clothing and nutritious food that meet their needs for a healthy life. A consequence of poverty is a low socioeconomic status that leads to being exposed to poor nutrition. Since food and dietary choices are influenced by income, poverty and nutrition go hand in hand. There are many important factors that threaten the nutritional status of poor people. The number one factor is not having enough money to buy food of good quality and quantity. Not having enough money can have a profound impact on the diets of low-income people. Limited financial resources may force low income people to make difficult decisions about what kind and how much food to buy. Limited financial resources often lead to food insecurity. According to Gundersen, Waxman, Engelhard, and Brown (2011) food insecurity is the lack of access to healthy food in quantity or quality.

Poverty is regarded as the major cause of food insecurity. A household food security depends on access to food. America has access to good healthy food. However, a family too poor to buy them do not enjoy food security. Rosenbaum and Neuberger (2005) report that each year the number of people using government food assistance programs grows. “Food stamps are targeted to those with the greatest need for help in purchasing food… [and] helps to lessen the extent and severity of poverty (Rosenbaum and Neuberger 2005)”.

Gundersen, Waxman, Engelhard, and Brown (2010) found in their study that 50 million people (including 17 million children) were food insecure in 2010. Poverty and food insecurity affects the lives of billions of people worldwide and millions of people in the United States. More than two billion pe...

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