Hunger Costs Kansas $900,000,000 Each Year
New Study Examines Hidden Costs of Hunger,
Calls on Congress to Address Human and Hidden Costs.
Wichita, KS - June 5, 2007
338,025 Kansans do not know where their next meal is coming from. The human cost is obvious; the hidden economic costs are now known, due to a recent study by Dr. Larry Brown.
For Kansas children, the costs of hunger and food insecurity are high and immediately felt. Children who do not know where their next meal is coming from are more likely to have chronic headaches, get colds and upper respiratory infections, miss school, and fall behind in school. Food insecure children are less likely to have access to and eat fruits and vegetables and more likely to have diets lacking in protein, iron, calcium, folate, and zinc.
In addition to the human costs, we now know how much hunger impacts Kansas'bottom line. Dr. Larry Brown of Harvard University and the Center on Hunger and Poverty today released The Economic Cost of Hunger: Estimated Annual Burden to the United States. By gathering data on the costs of charity, health care, education, and lost productivity related to hunger, Dr. Brown and colleagues estimate that hunger costs America $90 billion per year, and Kansas $900 million per year.
"Today, we see that alongside the morality of hunger in a wealthy democracy stands the bill that we all pay for letting it exist. This payment is not only unnecessary, it is a waste," said Dr. Brown in his statement today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. "Many organizations in the domestic policy community believe that we can virtually end hunger in America for about $12 billion over current spending on federal programs like child nutrition, food stamps, and elderly feeding. In short, we can mount an effort to end hunger for $12 billion, or let it continue to exist and fork out $90 billion annually. The appropriate response seems quite obvious."
Findings from the report include:
a.. It costs more than $14 billion a year to run the nation's 250 food banks and nearly 50,000 soup kitchens and food pantries.
b.. Missed educational opportunities and lost productivity due to hunger and food insecurity cost $9 billion a year.
c.. Hunger and food insecurity cause nearly $67 billion a year in health care costs.
d.. The total cost for America to let 35 million people live in households that are unable to afford enough to eat is $90 billion a year.
About the Report
The Economic Cost of Hunger: Estimated Annual Burden to the United States by Dr. Larry Brown, et al, Center on Hunger and Poverty, was commissioned by the Sodexho Foundation. It can be obtained June 5 from www.sodexhousa.com.
# # #
True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt