A few weeks ago, the Vermont Foodbank participated in the Sustainability & Global Health: Connecting Concepts in Development for a Healthier Future GlobeMed at Middlebury Hilltop Conference. 

There was some great information shared, including the following op-ed written by Hannah Judge.

October 11, 2012
Re-thinking the Prescription for American Food Insecurity

Here in the United States we are facing a double burden of disease when it comes to malnutrition and food security. According to the 2012 ERS Report Summary for the USDA, 14.9% of American households were food insecure in 2011 while the CDC reports that 35.7% of U.S. adults were obese. Combined, that’s 50.6% of Americans that experienced some type of malnutrition last year.

Sixty-nine percent of Mississippian adults are obese or overweight, and twenty five percent of households can’t access “decent, healthful food” because grocery stores are often more than 30 miles away. Suzy Hansen highlights the intense irony of this, describing how: “In one of the country’s most fertile regions, people sometimes have to shop for their groceries at the gas station.”

Food insecurity is not limited to rural Mississippi, however. As reported by the Huffington Post, 46.7 million Americans – meaning one in five adults – used food stamps in June 2012, and 57% of food-insecure households participated in at least one of the major Federal food and nutrition assistance programs.

It seems preposterous that we experience inequity, inequality and insecurity around such a basic and fundamental issue as food in this country, when we spend the most money in the world on health care.

However, as Elizabeth Bradley and Lauren Taylor argue, if we expand the definition of ‘health expenditures’ to include life extending social services such as unemployment benefits, food subsides, or family support, the United States no longer sta