2010年12月10日金曜日

米国 子供空腹4人に1人

 米国で、「4人に1人の子供が空腹に直面している」という米農務省の
報告書が波紋を呼んでいる。景気低迷の長期化を背景に、子供に十分な
食事を与えることができない家庭が増えているためという。

農務省報告書
・所得不足で食事を欠いたり、公的な食糧支援を求めたりしたことのある
 世帯は昨年約1740万世帯(全米世帯数の14.7%)に上った。
・2006年と比べ30%も増えており、「雇用問題など国の経済状況を反映して
 いる」。
・「食糧不安定」な家庭に暮らす子供は約1720万人。
 17歳以下の子供の約23%、およそ4人に1人にのぼる。
・政府の無料配給計画に該当する子供は、推定1400万人。
 うち300万人は5才未満。
・2006-2008年
 アーカンソー州の「食糧不安定」家庭の子供は、24.4%。
 テキサス州の「食糧不安定」家庭の子供は、24.3%。
・「食糧不安定」な家庭を経験した成人男性は、70%が、太りすぎか
 過度の太りすぎ
・「食糧不安定」な家庭を経験した成人女性は、75%が、太りすぎか
 過度の太りすぎ。45%は太りすぎ。

ヘリテージ財団ロバート・レクター
・「政治的効果を狙い数字は誇張されている」。
・議会で無料給食の拡大など子供向け栄養計画法案が審議中で、政府が、
 財政支出拡大に難色を示す議会での法案通過の後押しを狙ったという見方。

「食糧不安定」な家庭の子供は、貧困の比率を当てはめると、白人12%、
黒人、ヒスパニック系は合わせて50%となる。
以前から「食糧不安定」な家庭では、高カロリーの食物が好まれるため、
食料不足のためにやせすぎの人はおらず、病気等の特殊な場合を除き、
太りすぎの人は「貧困(食糧不安定)度」を示すと言われてきたが、また、
証明したようだ。

財政縮減を行うのは当たり前だが、子供の食事や教育の費用を削減する
ことに疑問を持つ人も多い。
Tea Partyは、食糧配給は政府ではなく民間がするものと言うのだろう。

感謝祭の日から各地では、無料食料配給が始まったようだ。
一部の人から、食料支援を餌付けと言われ、ホームレスを活動として
続けようとしている人もいて、どこでも問題になる配給の難しさが米国
でも露呈した。

以前、サブプライム問題で家を抵当にとられた人達が、公園にテントを
張って生活していた光景を思い出したが、報道を見る限り状況は変わっ
ていないようだ。

米国 7人に1人が貧困


USDA: More Americans going hungry


Minorities see dream deferred


BizTimes-USDA official visits Hunger Task Force


Second Harvest Hunger Caravan - Alachua County, Fla.


---米国の子供空腹に悩む 4人に1人---
2010.12.3 22:28
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/america/101203/amr1012032230008-n1.htm

 【ワシントン=渡辺浩生】ホリデーシーズンを迎えた米国で、「4人に1人の子供が空腹に直面している」という米農務省の報告書が波紋を呼んでいる。景気低迷の長期化を背景に、子供に十分な食事を与えることができない家庭が増えているためという。
 農務省が先月発表した報告書によると、所得不足で食事を欠いたり、公的な食糧支援を求めたりしたことのある世帯は昨年約1740万世帯(全米世帯数の14・7%)に上った。
 景気後退前の2006年と比べ30%も増えており、「雇用問題など国の経済状況を反映している」(コンカノン農務次官)といえる。こうした食事を十分に提供できない「食糧不安定」な家庭に暮らす子供は約1720万人。17歳以下の子供の約23%、およそ4人に1人にのぼるという。
 不安定な食生活は、子供の学力低下を招き、子供が将来、退学したり、失業者や犯罪者に転落したりする要因になると専門家は指摘する。
 一方で、「政治的効果を狙い数字は誇張されている」と米シンクタンク、ヘリテージ財団のロバート・レクター氏は米NPRラジオに語った。
 議会で無料給食の拡大など子供向け栄養計画法案が審議中で、政府が、財政支出拡大に難色を示す議会での法案通過の後押しを狙ったという見方だ。
 とはいえ、クリスマスシーズンを前に各地では、民間団体による無料食料配給に行列ができている状態だ。


---As It Stands: American shame: Hungry, under-educated children with uncertain futures
Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard
Posted: 12/05/2010 01:26:55 AM PST
http://www.times-standard.com/othervoices/ci_16783059

”If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all.” -- Pearl S. Buck

Something's wrong. Feeding America reports that nearly 14 million children are estimated to be eligible for free food programs. Over three million of them are under 5 years old.

Twenty percent or more of the child population in 16 states and D.C. are living in food insecure households. Arkansas (24.4 percent) and Texas (24.3) have the highest rates of children in households without consistent access to food (John, Cook, Child Food insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that in 2008:

”Of the 49.1 million people living in food insecure households (up from 36.2 million in 2007), 32.4 million are adults (14.4 percent of all adults) and 16.7 million are children (22.5 percent of all children).”

”Our children are our only hope for the future, but we are their only hope for their present and their future.” -- Zig Ziglar

So, how can we explain 16.7 million, or approximately 22.5 percent, of children in the U.S. living in poverty? Research shows that for young children even mild under-nutrition during critical periods of growth impacts their behavior, their school performance and their overall cognitive development.

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” -- Stacia Tauscher

Childhood hunger is more than moral issue. Scientific evidence suggests hungry children are less likely to become productive citizens. How can this be happening in America?

We pride ourselves on giving billions in food relief to countries across the world, and we can't properly feed our own. That's just shameful. There's nothing else to call it. Our priorities need to be reevaluated.

”Upon our children -- how they are taught -- rests the fate -- or fortune -- of tomorrow's world.” B.C. Forbes

California's education system is crippled. A record 174 districts may not be able to meet their financial obligations over the next two years, according to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell. That's a 38 percent increase over last year.

After announcing this news in June, O'Connell told The Associated Press, “The economic picture for our schools regrettably is bleak. The lack of funding is hurting our children, our schools, our neighborhoods and our future.”

”We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

It's been hard to watch public education in California get $17 billion less than expected over the past two years, because of the ramifications. Teachers are laid off, we're seeing bigger classes and shortened school years. Extracurricular activities, like music and sports, are slashed for lack of funds. The same situation faces most of the other states.

Garrison Keillor wrote, “Nothing you do for your children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.”

I heartily agree with this wry evaluation. We need to take a long, hard look at what's happening with children in America. Our state and federal government should support them, not political agendas and partisan politics that prioritize everything but their welfare, education, and future.

As It Stands, Walt Disney summed it up nicely, “Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.”


---Cut this budget, and more children go hungry---
Sunday, December 5, 2010; 7:35 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/05/AR2010120503636.html

In her Dec. 1 Metro article, "D.C. mayor's budget plan triggers council debate on possible income tax increase," Nikita Stewart asserted that outgoing Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's plan to close the budget gap would only delay healthy food being served to D.C. students.

While this may be true on paper, implementation of the D.C. Healthy Schools Act has already begun, and any such delay is apt to paralyze the program indefinitely.

Right now, any student in need can receive a free and healthy breakfast in his or her classroom. Further, food contracts worth millions of dollars have already been switched across the District. Mr. Fenty's proposal would jeopardize not only businesses investing in the city's potential but also those most in need: the District's schoolchildren.

In May, the D.C. Council unanimously passed the D.C. Healthy Schools Act as a landmark initiative to curb the scourges of child obesity and hunger in the District.

On Tuesday, the council should once again defend the health and well-being of D.C. students.

Even in this tough economy, the promise of our children's future should not be shortchanged.

Sean S. Miller, Washington

The writer is the education director at Earth Day Network and helped the effort to pass and fund the D.C. Healthy Schools Act.


---RECTOR: Significant food shortages rare in America---
By Robert Rector The Washington Times
4:21 p.m., Wednesday, November 24, 2010
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/nov/24/rector-significant-food-shortages-rare-in-america/

As Thanksgiving arrives, we usually hear an increased clamor about "hunger" in America. This year is no exception. Timed to the holiday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture just released its annual report on household food security in the United States.

According to the USDA, some 17 million households, or 14.7 percent of all households, experienced "household food insecurity" at some point in 2009. Some 50 million people (or 17 percent of the population) lived in households with some form of food insecurity.

While these numbers sound ominous, it's important to understand what "food insecurity" means.

According to the USDA, "food insecurity" is almost always a recurring and episodic problem rather than a chronic condition. In 2009, about 10.6 million homes, or two-thirds of food-insecure households, experienced a condition termed "low food security." According to USDA, these families "typically … reported few, if any, indications of reduced food intake."

However, financial pressures did force them to reduce "variety in their diets" or rely on a "few basic foods" at various times in the year. Given that some 10 million Americans are unemployed, the fact that millions of households have been temporarily forced to eat cheaper, simpler meals at some point in the year should not be surprising.

The remaining one-third of food-insecure households, with 17.6 million people, experienced "very low food security" in 2009. According to the USDA, "very low food security" means that, at least once during the year, some members of the household reduced their intake because of a lack of funds to purchase food. Most of these households temporarily cut back the sizes of their meals. At the extreme, about 1.7 percent of all adults in the U.S. went at least one entire day without eating because of a lack of funds for food.

Fortunately, children are generally shielded from food cutbacks and food insecurity. Only one child in 75 went "hungry" for even a single day during 2009 because of a lack of food in the home. And only one child in 100 missed even a single meal during the entire year because of food shortfalls in the home.

Political advocates proclaim that the USDA reports show there is widespread chronic hunger in the U.S. But the USDA clearly and specifically does not identify food insecurity with the more intense condition of "hunger," which it defines as "discomfort, illness, weakness, or pain … caused by prolonged involuntary lack of food." As the USDA report explicitly states, most "food insecure" homes did not cut back their intake at all.

Interestingly, the USDA report shows that millions of families that are judged "food secure" have lower incomes (relative to family size and age) than do many homes that are "food insecure." This same pattern appears in each annual food security report. It indicates that "food insecurity" is, to a considerable degree, dependent on how efficiently a family allocates its food dollars and how it distributes its available food over the course of a month.

Another rarely discussed issue: The government's own data show that the overwhelming majority of food-insecure adults are, like most adult Americans, overweight or obese. Among adult males experiencing food insecurity, fully 70 percent are overweight or obese. Nearly three-quarters of adult women experiencing food insecurity are either overweight or obese, and nearly half (45 percent) are obese. Virtually no food-insecure adults are underweight.

It is true that increases in the food-stamp rolls buffered Americans from significant shortages during the severe recession. Of course, it is perfectly reasonable for food stamps and other welfare programs to expand during periods of severe unemployment. However, since the recession ended, welfare spending should return to pre-recession levels.

Unfortunately, that's not what President Obama intends. He plans to use the latest recession to mask a permanent expansion in the welfare state.

In his first two years in office, Mr. Obama has increased federal means-tested welfare spending by a third. And his own budget documents show that he plans for welfare spending to continue rising.

By 2013, government will spend nearly $1 trillion per year on means-tested anti-poverty programs, providing cash, food, housing, medical care and social services to low-income Americans. (These figures do not include Social Security or Medicare.) This will amount to more than $20,000 for each poor person in the nation.

Of course, this dramatic expansion of the welfare state will not be paid for. Mr. Obama plans to "spread the wealth" in the U.S. by borrowing from the Chinese. This is an extravagance the nation cannot afford.

*Robert Rector is senior research fellow in domestic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org).


---Advice From A Homeless Man: Holiday Givers Need To Coordinate---
by Pam Fessler
02:41 pm November 23, 2010
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/11/23/131545121/advice-from-a-homeless-man-holiday-givers-need-to-coordinate

NPR's Pam Fessler caught up this week with a homeless man in Washington, DC, who she profiled last year. She sent us this report about his view of what it's like to be on the receiving end of well-intentioned holiday donations:

His name is Eric Sheptock, and he uses blogs, Facebook and Twitter to advocate for the rights of the homeless. A year later, Sheptock says he's fine.

But, like lots of people, he's been on the receiving end of an overabundance of food this week - more Thanksgiving dinners than he can count at local churches, parks and other sites where the homeless get food. Sheptock says he's grateful, but thinks there could be a better way.

He tells new people on the streets that they'll be eating well through the holidays, but come Jan. 2, they'll be hungry again, especially on weekends when it's hard to find food. Now, he's written a blog post with some tips for those who want to help the needy during the holidays.

"Some give from the heart," he writes. "Others may do it to appease their conscience. Or it might be a tax write-off. Regardless of the reason, we'll take 'em all - and appreciate them all. However, there are certain things that people should understand when giving. One is that, on occasion, there are too many people giving to the homeless at one time."


He recalls getting two plates of food at one soup kitchen last Palm Sunday, only to go out to a local park and find lots more.

"In a 2-hour span," Sheptock wrote, "no less than 6 groups of do-gooders came through the park feeding the homeless. After the 3rd or 4th group, I began to tell people, 'No more. I can't eat anymore' and ask them if they were trying to stuff me like a turkey."

Sheptock thinks one solution would be a website where donors can post their plans.

"They could list what they plan to give, the park or other location where they plan to give it and how much they plan to give," he added. "Then, food donations could be spread out such that we don't get too many feeding on some days and not enough feeding on other days."

He also warned groups planning to hand out things such as blankets and shoes to the homeless this winter, that some homeless people hoard them. They might grab a new pair of boots, even if they received another pair the week before. He says it's usually the elderly or the ill who lose out, because they can't always rush up to get the handouts.

Sheptock's suggestion: Sometimes it works better if a group takes orders first from homeless people to make sure the help is distributed more fairly. Again, he says, it would be good if donors could coordinate.
Posted by Mark Memmott.

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