New Survey On Hunger Reveals One In 10 Adults Goes Without A Basic Need To Provide Food For Another Family Member

Dec 04, 2012, 10:30 ET from Generations United

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the past year, nearly one-third of adults in America have either experienced lack of food or been concerned about food insecurity among their family, friends, or neighbors.  Equally troubling, one in 10 adults went without a basic need (such as food, medicine, or health care) in order to provide food for another family member. Those are among the findings of a new poll commissioned by Generations United and conducted by Harris Interactive.

Generations United released the survey results in a new report, Hunger and Nutrition: What's at Stake for Children, Families & Older Adults, during an event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  The report notes that the stakes are high, but that Americans are ready and willing to tackle the twin issues of hunger and nutrition. Fully 70 percent of US adults agree that policymakers should prevent cuts to existing federal food assistance programs for children, youth, and older adults. Further, in communities across the country, people are experimenting with innovative programs and services that engage younger and older people to help ensure their families and neighbors have access to healthy, nutritious food.  

"Before conducting the survey, we knew that the incidence of hunger had been rising in the years since the economic downturn. Nevertheless, we were disturbed to learn that so many adults are being forced to choose between eating or buying medicine," said James Taylor, president of Sodexo, Inc.'s Senior Living Division and a member of Generations United's Board of Directors. "People should never have to choose between such basic needs. Nor should they have to worry that someone close to them lacks access to nutritious food. We're a large and prosperous country and we must address this issue head on, for the good of us all."

Among the speakers at the press event were two members of Congress – Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3rd) and Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-3rd) – and Joan Lombardi, an internationally recognized expert on early childhood and author of Time to Care: Redesigning Child Care to Promote Education, Support Families and Build Communities. Darren Gersh, Washington Bureau Chief for PBS' Nightly Business Report, moderated a panel discussion on hunger. Panelists included: Evelyn Crayton, assistant director, Family & Consumer Science, Auburn University; Robert Egger, founder of DC Central Kitchen, president of LA Kitchen; and Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

The report offers recommendations for ways policymakers, employers, and others can address the needs of people who are hungry or at risk of being food insecure.  Among the recommendations: develop measures that support employment for low-income families (such as providing workforce training and allowing work-sharing); clear pathways to benefits so people can access programs more easily; modify age-restricted federal food programs to incorporated integrated intergenerational approaches; and promote coordination across federal nutrition programs to better serve family members of all ages.  The report also features profiles of several innovative programs that bring people of all ages together to fight hunger.

"The benefits of taking an intergenerational approach to issues, such as hunger, cannot be overstated," said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United. "Hunger knows no age limits, and its eradication will require people of all ages working together to find solutions. This [Hunger and Nutrition] report offers important examples of such efforts. It's heartening to see the deep connections older and younger generations make as they work together on a common goal. At Generations United, we believe policies fragmented by age cause problems that can only be solved when we address them across age groups, and this report certainly bears that out."

"With this report, we want our policymakers to see all sides of the hunger issue: who's hungry; why people are unable to afford nutritious food; how individuals and communities are coping; and what the various sectors of society need to do to help."

To read the full report, view the Executive Summary, or see a related infographic, visit

The National Press Club event was co-sponsored by DC Central Kitchen, Feeding America, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and Share Our Strength. The event was made possible by the support of Atlantic Philanthropies, AARP, Matz, Blancato, & Associates and MetLife Mature Market Institute.

About Generations United: Formed in 1986, Generations United is the national membership organization focused solely on improving the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational strategies, programs, and public policies. Representing more than 100 national, state, and local organizations and individuals representing more than 70 million Americans, Generations United serves as a resource for educating policymakers and the public about the economic, social, and personal imperatives of intergenerational cooperation. For more information, visit

* Survey Methodology

Harris Interactive® fielded the study on behalf of Generations United from September 24-26, 2012 via its Harris Poll QuickQuery(SM) online omnibus service, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,397 U.S. residents age 18 years or older; 303 respondents from this survey sought or received food assistance in the past 12 months. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, household income, and age of children in the household were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

SOURCE Generations United