The Nourishing Effect

November 26, 2015
2016 Hunger Report. Photo: Joe Molieri / Bread for the World

2016 Hunger Report — The Nourishing Effect: Ending Hunger, Improving Health, Reducing Inequality

A new study commissioned by Bread for the World Institute shows that last year alone, hunger and food insecurity increased health expenditures in the United States by $160 billion. The study is highlighted in the Institute’s new report, The Nourishing Effect: Ending Hunger, Improving Health, Reducing Inequality.

“Nowhere are the hidden costs of hunger and food insecurity greater than in health care,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “Access to nutritious food is essential to healthy growth and development, and can prevent the need for costly medical care. Many chronic diseases — the main causes of poor health as well as the main drivers of healthcare costs — are related to diet.”

Food insecurity is associated with higher rates of depression, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other physical and mental health conditions. Food assistance programs such as SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and school lunches save money in the long run by improving educational and health outcomes.

Government resources that could go toward programs such as early childhood education or reducing the national debt are instead spent in emergency rooms and hospitals to offset the costs of hunger and food insecurity. The $160 billion is equivalent to more than a third of the U.S. government’s annual deficit.

The study was carried out by John Cook of Boston Medical Center and Children’s HealthWatch, and Ana Paula Poblacion of Universidade Federal de São Paulo in Brazil.

“The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure has never been more appropriate,” said Asma Lateef, director of Bread for the World Institute. “Investments in federal nutrition programs are critical and much more needs to be done to ensure that vulnerable and underserved communities have access to healthy foods.”

Ending hunger and food insecurity will allow millions of people to do better in school, be more productive at work, and live healthier lives. The Nourishing Effect offers recommendations for healthcare providers, anti-hunger advocates, and policymakers to help make a healthier, hunger-free U.S. a reality.

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.

    Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

  • Bread Newsletter January 2016

    In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.
     

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.

    ...

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.