Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

America's spiking hunger problem

by Alex Cohen with Leo Duran | Take Two®

Barbie Izquierdo and her two children from Philadelphia, featured in, "A Place at the Table." A family of three must earn less than $24,000 a year to qualify for food stamps, but one year Barbie was disqualified because she earned just $2 more than that limit. Magnolia Pictures

Sequestration. Immigration. Gun Control.

With so many pressing issues demanding attention in this country, one issue seems to be fading from the headlines, even though the situation is worse than it's been in decades - HUNGER.

More than 50 million Americans don't know where their next meal is coming from - a condition known as food insecurity.

A study released by the Food Research and Action Center finds that L.A. County has some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the nation: one in five people say they stuggled in the past year to buy food.

The new documentary and book, "A Place at the Table," explains how it's still possible for people to be hungry, when at the same time the country is struggling with an obesity epidemic.

Watch the trailer:

For example, those getting food stamp assistance may also find themselves in food deserts with limited access to healthy foods. Instead, they must rely on processed foods that drive up obesity rates but lack in nutrition.

Even so, the bar to receive food stamps is high: a family of three must earn less than $24,000 a year to qualify. Single mother Barbie Izquierdo from Philadelphia learned that unforunate lesson when she earned just $2 above the threshold.

The film also features 10-year-old Rosie from Collbran, Colorado. "Anytime I'm looking at the teacher, I look at her and all I think about is food," she says. "Sometimes when I look at her, I envision her as a banana so looks like a banana. And everybody in the class is like apples or oranges. And I'm like, oh great."

Hunger and malnutrition is detrimental like her: studies show that it can stunt physical and intellectual development that can last a person's whole life.

The film and book, "A Place at the Table," is available today on demand and on iTunes, as well as in theatres throughout California.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy Take Two®? Try KPCC’s other programs.

What's popular now on KPCC