Imagine opening your refrigerator and finding it empty. Imagine opening your kitchen cabinets and having no food. Sadly, that’s the reality for 50 million United States citizens; they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That includes over 15 million children and 3 million senior citizens.
It’s hard to imagine that so many people in the United States don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Food insecurity leads to what I call the 4 S’s:
Sleep – Ever get up at night to raid the refrigerator when you couldn’t sleep? What if you had no food for dinner? Going to bed hungry makes it hard to sleep. And poor sleep increases the risk of obesity; it lowers the production of the hormone leptin that make us feel full. It also increases the production of the hormone ghrelin that makes us feel hungry. Too little sleep is also linked to an increase risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Stress – It’s hard to fathom how stressful not knowing where your next meal is coming from. And it never stops. We all know how bad constant stress makes us feel. It also makes us sick. Stress is associated with high blood pressure and heart disease.
Stamina – Anyone thinking about where their next meal is coming from is likely not to be thinking or participating in regular exercise, and that increases obesity, stress and heart disease.
School – It’s well known that kids who don’t eat breakfast do worse in school. That leads to poorer grades, a higher risk of dropping out, twice as many absences and a larger likelihood of lower income or living on welfare.