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Food for Thought

Effie O. Ellis, MD
JAMA. 1985;253(22):3299-3300. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350460099032.
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Hunger in our country has become a recurring theme. The 1985 report of the Physician Task Force on Hunger in America speaks of hunger as a growing epidemic.1 In the opinion of the task force, hunger and its attendant malnutrition and illness are more widespread and serious than at any time in the past ten to 15 years.

These findings are reminiscent of the decade of the 1960s. During this period a report entitled Hunger, U.S.A.2 was presented by the Citizens Board of Inquiry Into Hunger and Malnutrition. A major finding was that hunger did exist and that the school lunch and food stamp programs failed to reach the poorest of the poor.

In 1969 the White House Conference on Nutrition made key recommendations, which included establishment of a system of surveillance and monitoring of the state of nutrition, more emphasis on the nutrition of vulnerable groups, and


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