Nutrition

Kerry And Obama, The World Gets Hungry Back Home And Abroad

Senator Kerry’s Confirmation Hearing
On Thursday, January 24th, Secretary of State nominee Senator John Kerry testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. In his opening statement, Senator Kerry noted the importance of food security in American foreign policy,

“President Obama and every one of us here knows that American foreign policy is not defined by drones and deployments alone… American foreign policy is also defined by food security and energy security, humanitarian assistance, the fight against disease and the push for development…”

Kerry went on to call climate change a “”life-threatening issue,” further hinting at a global initiative to tackling food uncertainty.

President Obama’s Inauguration
Three days prior, on January 21, 2013, President Barack Obama was sworn in for inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. In his second Inauguration Address, President Obama noted his ongoing efforts in reducing global poverty and inequality,

“We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice. Not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes…”

The New York City Coalition Against Hunger, an NYC-based anti-hunger organization, hailed the President’s speech.

Back Home And Abroad
President Obama’s and Senator Kerry’s remarks resonate back home. The topic of global food security has recently reawakened some  anti-hunger dialogue in the U.S. Obesity is now commonly referred to as an indirect cause of food insecurity, if not present in the same household as food insecurity, known as the dual burden.

Focusing only on childhood obesity is not a forward-thinking approach. In the years ahead, the U.S. may refocus anti-obesity efforts to concentrate more on food security as a whole, including much of the same initiatives such as SNAP benefits and summer meals. However, these issues hang on the future of the Farm Bill, fought by every national and local anti-hunger organization from Feeding America to NYCCAH.

Meanwhile, the U.S. may need to step-up and take responsibility in alleviating hunger in the Middle East, while continuing to teach proper food and feed safety to nations such as China.

The world isn’t getting skinnier. But the U.S. is growing to encompass the basic notions of hunger, obesity, and food justice and democracy.

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