Two sides of the same coin

It can be tempting to ask families receiving food assistance, If you’re really hungry, then how can you be—as many of them are—overweight? The answer is “this paradox that hunger and obesity are two sides of the same coin,” says Melissa Boteach, vice president of the Poverty and Prosperity Program of the Center for American Progress, “people making trade-offs between food that’s filling but not nutritious and may actually contribute to obesity.” For many of the hungry in America, the extra pounds that result from a poor diet are collateral damage—an unintended side effect of hunger itself.

National Geographic has a disturbing portrayal of hunger in America. Like many places in the world, obesity in the United States has become a sign of hunger, as people struggle to afford (and sometimes to find) anything other than cheap junk food.