Hunger and Malnutrition

The ability to sustain one’s life through eating adequate and healthy foods is the most basic of all human rights.  The City of Detroit should be committed to abolishing hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an estimated 400,000 households in Michigan live with hunger or the threat of hunger.  With thousands of vulnerable persons and families within the city finding that their resources are not enough to cover rent, utilities, medicine, clothes and other basic necessities, one could guess that a substantial number of the hungry live in Detroit.

The Director of the WIC program in Detroit writes that the program services approximately 65,000 residents per year; seventy-five percent are infants and children up to five years old.  Year 2000 census data indicated that 12% of children had low birth weight, 20-26% of the children were anemic, and 10% were overweight.  A recent pediatrician’s report documented that “even mild to moderate under-nutrition in young children is linked to problems that last throughout the lifespan.”

While Federal programs, such as food stamps and WIC have helped to alleviate the most severe forms of hunger, they haven’t adequately impacted food security.  As well, the elderly population suffers from hunger and malnutrition due to isolation, lack of access to stores, inability to prepare nutritious meals, illness, general poor health and cognitive challenges.

Actions Needed:

  • Institute and support community self-help projects that address both hunger and malnutrition.
  • Support and increase community food banks, as well as information about and access to them.
  • Identify government and other resources that support programs to alleviate hunger and malnutrition, especially to the most vulnerable of the population.
  • Advocate for increased availability of state issued food benefits to eligible recipients and educate community residents about the role and importance of food stamps as the society’s commitment to meeting basic needs of fellow citizens who are ill-served by the marketplace.
  • Encourage and work with faith-based institutions to do extensive out-reach and ensure that the food needs of young families and the elderly are met.
  • Educate the community and families about the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks associated with infant formulas.

Explore The Detroit Food Policy

The Detroit Food Policy was unanimously adopted by the Detroit City Council on March 15, 2008

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