As I write this, I’m watching a documentary, A Place at the Table, which covers the atrocity of hunger in America. While the topic of hunger existing in a country with more than enough food is a topic worth investigating, there is another reality brought to light in this documentary that we’ll address here: Those who are too poor to feed themselves well are also the sickest among us, and therefore, spend the most on medical care.
Dr. Mariana Chilton, founder of Witness To Hunger, notes “Any kind of nutritional deprivation, however short that it could be in those first 3 years of life can have lifelong consequences for a child. It effects their cognitive development; their ability to get along with others. They could be constantly sick, constantly getting infections because they’re not well nourished. It can truncate a child’s developmental potential whether or not it affects their growth outcomes, sort of their physical… their stature and their weight… It affects their brain in a much deeper level.”
Kids are just smaller versions of you and me. The human body doesn’t build up an immunity to malnutrition as it gets older. We simply carry with us the effects of what happens to us as children. This film also featured a decision, a health choice, brought to Congress and the direct result of the choice that was made.
David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, stated “The President proposed an additional one billion dollars a year to strengthen child nutrition programs and he was very clear, let’s take that money away from some of the least justifiable payments to affluent land holders.” Unfortunately, that part of his proposal died within 24 hours. Both the Congressional agriculture committees said “No way, you’re not touching that.” I hope this makes you as mad and irritated as it made me. I thought to myself that their priorities were obviously misplaced. (Hold onto that thought.)
Considering the words of these two professionals working on the front lines of combating hunger, it is clear to see that the health choices made by those in power have helped contribute to many of the illnesses across our country. And what’s one very important place sickness affects all of us? Our wallets! Let’s bring this issue to our backyards, shall we?
A doctor has said to you that malnutrition can cause mental and physical problems which will greatly impact you and your family. Combine that with the real-life example of Congress choosing to ignore the problem of hunger. Long-term hunger leads to malnutrition, then to sickness, and on to high medical expenses which of course, leads to financial bondage of many American citizens.
Questions you should ask yourself: Are you just as guilty as Congress on a smaller scale? Are you holding onto the cable TV while saying you can’t afford fruits and veggies? Do you spend more on birthday presents than on healthy foods which will enrich your diet, and therefore, help keep you healthy? Do you insist on buying the special edition DVD instead of stocking the fridge with cancer-fighting broccoli?
Earlier I mentioned the irritation I felt towards Congress and its short-sighted decision. I’m guessing you felt the same way. However, do you feel the same way about your poor choices, or are you following in Congress’ footsteps?
What decisions do you make on a daily basis that positively or negatively impact your health?