Impact of Food Insecurity and Hunger on Global Health: Issues for Congress [January 12, 2009] [open pdf - 926KB]
"The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that world food prices spiked dramatically in the first half of 2008 and declined somewhat in the latter part of the year. From June 2007 to June 2008, FAO's food price index increased by 44%, with wheat and rice prices increasing by 90% and maize prices by 35%. The food spikes had negative social and economic impacts, especially in low income and least developed countries. Although food prices have stabilized somewhat, they remain higher than they have been over the past decade. In addition, those who were most affected by the food spikes remain vulnerable to future food crises because of persistent hunger and poverty. [...]. Since food prices have begun to rise, much of the discussions on how best to improve food security have focused on agriculture and its related issues. While many experts agree that increased investment in agriculture could help to address hunger and poverty, others urge policy makers to simultaneously bolster support for health interventions. Supporters of greater investment in basic health care assert that related programs are a relatively inexpensive way to effectively address hunger-related illnesses in the short- and long-terms. This report analyzes the direct and indirect effects of food insecurity and hunger on global health, reviews elements of the U.S. government response to global hunger, and identifies policy areas that Congress might examine as it debates how best to address the health needs of the millions threatened by high food prices in the 111th Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, R40127