The Australian Red Cross
defines food security
as "a human right and exists when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious, culturally appropriate food to maintain a healthy and active life." They estimate that 5-8% of Australians "commonly" have no food and no money to buy it. Lack of food security contributes to the very poor state of Indigenous health in Australia, particularly in remote areas
, where fresh and healthy food can be far more expensive than junk food. Remote areas aside, healthy food adds thousands of dollars
to the average family's yearly budget.
In Australia, women, Indigenous people, and people with chronic health problems are most likely
to suffer poverty. (The Salvation Army reports that half of women seeking accomodation from them are experiencing family violence
.) Catholic Health Australia states that doctors should screen patients for poverty
to cut preventable disease. UNICEF and other advocate groups have called on the government to help the 600,000 Australian children
who live in poverty.
49 million Americans
similarly experience food insecurity. A thought-provoking posting from Cracked.com, of all places, attacks the stereotypes
of those receiving welfare. Apple, McDonalds, and Walmart
cost taxpayers the most in welfare by underpaying their employees.
A study has found that poverty inflicts a cognitive deficit equal to losing 13 IQ points
. A 23-year study
of "crack babies" found that "Poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of inner-city children than gestational exposure to cocaine."