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Emergency Food Aid and Food Poverty

Food poverty is a set of circumstances where people are unable to feed themselves with enough food and in a way that is healthy and nutritious. These circumstances are normally because they can’t afford to feed themselves or because of a lack of food or places to obtain food.

Food poverty is an urgent and widespread problem throughout the world and doesn’t just relate to third world countries, natural disasters, the consequences of war or homeless people.

The factors affecting food poverty can be complex and vary with different situations, environment and locality. Basic availability of food, availability of healthy food, income, knowledge and education, nature, transport logistics, crime, corruption, and cultural factors are some of the elements that can contribute to the problem. However the inescapable fact is that people on low incomes suffer most and have the poorest food intake along with the worst levels of fruit, vegetables and general nutrition.

As well as the more obvious problems of malnutrition and starvation the poorer people in society are at higher risks of diet related diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease as a direct consequence of food poverty.

There is much debate about what exactly food poverty is, how to define it and how to measure it. This has previously focussed on absolute and overall poverty levels in conjunction with standards of living and income levels. Other views have been to look at levels of deprivation which it is argued allows a wider range of factors to be considered. It is generally accepted that the degree of poverty is relative to time and the environment and geographical location you live in.

One measure that is concerning to all however is that food poverty is increasing across the world and the current available resource to combat the problem seem woefully inadequate.

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