One in seven US households hit by hunger in 2008

Washington, Nov 17 (DPA) Nearly one in seven US households did not always have enough food last year as the country’s deep recession struck even the most basic of needs for survival, according to government data released Monday.

At 14.6 percent, the 2008 hunger rate is at its highest level since records began in 1995 and is up from 11.1 percent in 2007, the US Department of Agriculture said.

That means households comprising nearly 50 million Americans were “food insecure” for some time during the year, meaning they lacked the money or resources to provide enough food for the entire family.

About two-thirds resorted to less-varied diets or government aid programmes, while one-third were actually forced to reduce their food intake.

US President Barack Obama said the trend had become “painfully clear” in communities across the country amid the worst recession in decades, which has heightened demand for government food stamps.

“It is particularly troubling that there were more than 500,000 families in which a child experienced hunger multiple times over the course of the year,” Obama said in a statement, promising action to reverse the trend.

The recession began in December 2007. More than 8 million Americans have since lost their job.

The department’s findings are the result of surveys of about 44,000 households.