Why Americans suffer from both hunger and obesity

Obesity affects about 40% of the U.S. population, almost one in four Americans had trouble affording food in 2021, and the price of food has risen more than 11% since this time last year.

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Editorials

October 6, 2022 - 3:47 PM

A breakfast of fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt and whole grains stays with the body longer than one based on refined sugar and processed grains. Photo by Alexander Mills/Unsplash

Scientific understanding is challenging the conventional wisdom about hunger — now framing it as a scourge that afflicts not only people who get too few calories, but also those who consume mostly sugar and refined starch. Under this new understanding, people eating the wrong kind of diet can suffer from both hunger and obesity. 

A more scientifically accurate view of hunger and obesity couldn’t come at a better time. Obesity affects about 40% of the U.S. population, almost one in four Americans had trouble affording food in 2021, and the price of food has risen more than 11% since this time last year.

So nutrition experts rightly applauded last week’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, since the discussion steered away from helping people get enough calories and instead focused on getting people enough real food. That’s also the focus behind a multi-billion dollar Joe Biden administration initiative to end hunger in America by 2030.

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