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Tough choices. Devastating consequences.

Imagine that you had just enough money to buy food for the week, with nothing left over to pay your utility bills or to purchase bus fare to get to work. What would you do? Many people who struggle with hunger face these tough choices every day. The decisions they make can have serious and lasting consequences.

Compromises and coping strategies

The median annual income for households served by the Feeding America network is $9,175. In our 2014 Hunger in America study, the people we serve told us about the choices they face due to limited resources:

69%
Had to choose between food and utilities
67%
Had to choose between food and transportation
66%
Had to choose between food and medical care
57%
Had to choose between food and housing
31%
Had to choose between food and education

They also told us about the many ways they stretch their food budget or work to supplement it:

79%
Purchase inexpensive, unhealthy food
53%
Receive help from friends or family
40%
Water down food or drinks
35%
Sell or pawn personal property
23%
Grow food in a garden

The impact of hunger on health

Hunger and health are deeply connected. People who are food insecure are disproportionally affected by diet-sensitive chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and according to research, food insecurity is also linked to many adverse effects to overall health.

Learn more about the intersection of hunger and health ›

Hunger and child development

For children, food insecurity is particularly devastating. Not having enough healthy food can have serious implications for a child’s physical and mental health, academic achievement and future economic prosperity. Research shows an association between food insecurity and delayed development in young children; risk of chronic illnesses like asthma and anemia; and behavioral problems like hyperactivity, anxiety and aggression in school-age children.

Learn more about the 13 million children facing hunger in the U.S. today ›
 

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