The United States spends more on health care than any other nation on Earth, yet tolerates some of the worst health outcomes of all wealthy countries. The 2016 Hunger Report, The Nourishing Effect, explains why continued alarming rates of hunger, poverty, and inequality add to the mounting human and economic costs of poor health in the United States. The report includes a new study that places hunger’s cost to the U.S. economy at $160 billion per year—more than all state and federal spending on higher education.
The report examines how hunger drags down health throughout the life course, diminishing human potential and depressing productivity. It frames hunger as a key social determinant of health, and urges U.S. healthcare providers, government actors, and communities to promote a system that prioritizes healthy lifestyles over simply treating illness. Lastly, the report includes a chapter on the challenges and opportunities of hunger and health in the developing world, exposing the global phenomenon of hidden hunger and holding up promising policy solutions.
The 2015 Hunger Report, When Women Flourish, We Can End Hunger, explains how the empowerment of women and girls is essential to ending hunger, extreme poverty, and malnutrition globally and in the United States. Women are the primary agents the world relies on to fight hunger, yet pervasive discrimination persists worldwide, keeping women from maximizing their own potential.
The report examines three areas in which progress is necessary to achieving gender equality: bargaining power, care, and collective voice. Women’s voices are largely excluded from decision making at every level of society. Women feed their children, yet receive little support in caring for children and households, making it more difficult for them to earn income to improve household food security and contribute to economy. Policies and programs that empower women increase their earning potential and contribute directly to ending hunger.
The 2014 Hunger Report proposes bold steps to end hunger in the United States by 2030. Hunger remains a problem in this wealthy country. About one in seven American households is not always sure where their next meal is coming from. Among children, African Americans, and Hispanics/Latinos, this figure is about one in four.
Making jobs a priority would enable President Obama and Congress to reduce hunger in America by 25 percent by 2017. In addition to investing in good jobs as a way of ending hunger, the Hunger Report calls for an end to the political brinkmanship that led to the sequester and other budget cuts.
Other recommendations focus on investing in people, strengthening the safety net, and encouraging community anti-hunger partnerships.
The 2013 Hunger Report focuses on the final push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by their 2015 deadline, and proposes a new set of global development goals to eliminate hunger and extreme poverty by 2030.
The report shows how the MDGs have driven progress around the world against hunger and poverty. As a new set of goals is negotiated, the U.S. government and its civil society partners should exert all the influence they can bring to bear to ensure that a hunger goal remains at the top of the post-2015 agenda, and that the new set of development goals applies to all countries, not just the developing world.
With a new, stronger set of global goals informed by more rigorous data, the world can eradicate both extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.
The 2012 Hunger Report calls for changes in U.S. food and farm policies to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The national nutrition programs should do more to ensure that people in poverty have access to the foods they need for good health and to succeed in school and on the job. Farm policies should encourage production and distribution of healthy foods and help farmers manage risk more efficiently.
U.S. food aid should make sure that mother and children in the critical 1,000-day window between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday get the nutrients they need. Agricultural development assistance should target smallholder farmers.