Together, let’s put an end to deteriorating health

How Hungry is Our World

Dear Friends,

Can you name this Beautiful Creature?

We hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day break.

This week’s discussion will continue with the theme of last week’s topic—hunger. Many of you were away last week and I fear missed the beginning outline on the pervasiveness of hunger in our world. Check it out in the BioImmersion publishing blog on our website. What can we say, the issue of hunger in the world is so fundamental and primal, and if properly dealt with and corrected, will set off a chain of events that will correct many of the ills of our planet.

Here is the issue as presented in Perspectives in Nutrition by Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Gaile Moe, Donna Beshgetoor, Jacqueline Berning. (2009):

Worldwide, agriculture produces enough food to provide each person with 2720 kcal/day—more than enough to meet the energy requirements of each of the nearly 7 billion persons on earth. Even with this abundance, almost 1 in 8 (about 854 million) people are unable to access enough food to lead active, healthy lives— that is, they are food insecure. Another 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiencies. The serious problems of food insecurity and malnutrition exist in virtually every nation. (72)

An interesting research to show the effect of hunger was conducted in the 1940’s that illuminated what take place when we do not have enough food. Please notice the changes that these men have undergone, and the length of time it took them to heal after the research was over:

A group of researchers, led by Dr. Ancel Keys, examined the effects of under-nutrition on 32 healthy male volunteers. They ate an average of about 1800 calories daily for 6 months. During this time, the men lost an average of 24% of their body weight, experienced fatigue, muscle soreness, irritability, intolerance to cold, and hunger, exhibited lack of ambition, self-discipline, and concentration; and were often moody, apathetic, and depressed. Their heart rate and muscle tone decreased and they retained abnormal amounts of fluid in their bodies. When the men were permitted to eat normally again, feelings of recurrent hunger and fatigue persisted, even after 12 weeks of rehabilitation. Full recovery required about 18 months. This study tells us much about the general state undernourished adults worldwide. (72)

This research illustrates well the vicious downward spiral of poverty and death. Take a closer look at this cycle:

Hunger most often is associated with poverty—worldwide, including the US. Poverty stricken people may eat too little nutritious food, making them more disease prone—this leads to inadequate diet (or inappropriate food – such as junk food, which is cheaper to buy and fill the stomach with)—this causes stunted development and or premature death—Nutrient deficient diets provoke health problems: under-nutrition, increases susceptibility to disease, which decreases people’s ability to cultivate or purchase nutritious foods… Sickness and loss of livelihood… Death.

Hunger has been a part of our existence since the beginning of human life. But we thought that the “modern life” would eradicate hunger and disease. We were shocked in April 1967 when a team of doctors headed by Dr. Robert Coles and funded by the Field Foundation gave this report on hunger to our nation:

We saw children whose nutritional and medical condition we can only describe as shocking—even to a group of physicians whose work involves daily confrontation with disease and suffering. In child after child we saw: evidence of vitamin and mineral deficiencies; serious untreated skin infections and ulcerations; eye and ear diseases, also unattended bone diseases secondary to poor food intake; the prevalence of bacterial and parasitic disease, as well as severe anemia, with resulting loss of energy and ability to live a normally active life; diseases of the heart and lungs—requiring surgery—which have gone undiagnosed and untreated… and finally, in boys and girls in every county we visited, obvious evidence of severe malnutrition, with injury to body’s tissues—its muscles, bones and skin as well as an associated psychological state of fatigue, listlessness, and exhaustion. (How Hungry is America, 2008, p. 67)

This report, describing Third World style malnutrition, shocked our nation, not because we didn’t realize that there was such hunger and starvation in the world, but that this suffering was in our own country— the Mississippi Delta, a region comprising of parts of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana. The report movtivated the media to descend into the Delta and this focused everyone’s attention on the deplorable conditions of poverty. President Nixon started the Food Stamp program, and a host of other governmental programs to aid the poor as result of this coverage and the outrage of everyone in our nation. As a result much of this suffering was abated and progress was being made. However, several presidential terms later, President Regan came in and changed many of these federally sponsored programs—defunding them. The numbers of hungry Americans has been increasing evern since. Read Joel Berg’s book How Hungry is America? (2008) to grasp the depth of what we are actually dealing with in regards to poverty and hunger in the U.S. Realize that as a person’s diet deteriorate, or is never up to par since childhood, that it affects every system in our body. Our attitude oftentimes is impatient towards those who are poor, thinking that they “just need to work and get their act together”, however, without proper nutrition, it is hard to think and have the energy to work and get out of this vicious cycle. We all need to get involved and get our mutual act together.

As a nation we were founded on certain inconsistencies and you could say racism has been a part of our lives since our inception.

The Declaration of Independence (July 4th, 1776) written in large part by Thomas Jefferson, who became our third President, states: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Thomas Jefferson had 187 slaves. We know that because he kept meticulous hand-written records about his inner conflicts using human slaves. We still have his writings, fully showing his inner turmoil of awareness but with the attitude of racism he could not overcome.

By 1707, the image of America as a bountiful garden was already known around the globe. The nation soon achieved its status as “breadbasket to the world.” This bounty did not extend to African slaves who received barely enough food rations to keep them alive, nor to Native Americans, whose primary sources of food, most significantly buffalo meat, were systematically destroyed by settlers.

We need to have our hearts weep. Most of us have no idea and are inoculated from the poor and the hungry. I am. The book, How Hungry Is America by Joel Berg, will break your heart and open your eyes to the suffering of the poor, while it also gives real solutions.

The underlying opposition to fighting hunger was fueled by racism (not just in Mississippi, but throughout the South, and indeed, nationwide).

The Field Foundation and Citizens’ Board studies were both specifically designed to attract media coverage, which it was hoped would then advance legislation. The strategy worked. Such reports set a pattern, followed until this day, by which anti-hunger groups issue reports specifically to obtain media coverage and thereby achieve public policy improvements. Activism causes the media to notice. They print, people understand and change happens. Example, with Nixon, almost entirely due to agitation from the media, antipoverty activists and other political leaders, an administration, which doubted that hunger even existed just months prior, ended up proposing what were, at that point in American history, the most significant proposals ever made to reduce it. (p. 73)

Hunger is increasing because more people are out of work.

Food insecurity is closely linked to poverty. In the US about 37 million people (12% of the population)—more that a third of whom are children—live at or below the poverty guidelines, currently estimated at $20,650 for a family of 4. Currently, 25% of African-Americans and Native Americans and 22% of Hispanics live in poverty, compared with approximately 9% of Asians and Caucasians. Low paying jobs and unemployment, coupled with a lack of health-care benefits, high housing costs, family break-ups and catastrophic illness, contribute to economic hardship and poverty.

We will continue this discussion next week. If you have any information, thoughts or know of great groups of people who work to abolish hunger, write to us so we can include your sharing!

Sincerely yours,

Seann Bardell

Clinical Note: Often times we feel tired and simply not able to focus and complete our tasks. Take a closer look at the No. 7 Systemic Booster synbiotic formula. It is meant to work as a systemic Therapeutic Food to help the body with extra nutrients to enhance, and stimulate optimal functioning. We suggest this product be taken with the Wild Blueberry Daily or Extract for complete protection and boost.

The Last Quiz Answer: This amazing creature is a jaw fish, named aptly for a jaw that takes up most of their head. Jawfish are found near coral reefs throughout the world where they mainly feed on plankton and other tiny creatures. Most species usually grow to between 4 to 6 inches, though some types can grow to 18 inches.

What is a better way to feed ourselves than a bountiful garden? I learned this year to plant early and water abundantly!

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