USDA: Number of Americans Going Hungry Increases

More than one in seven American households struggled to put enough food on the table in 2008, the highest number since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began tracking food security levels in 1995.

That's 14.6 percent of U.S. households, or about 49 million people. The numbers are a significant increase from 2007, when 11.1 percent of U.S. households suffered from what USDA classifies as "food insecurity" -- not having enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle.

The USDA said Monday that 5.7 percent of those who didn't have enough food experienced "very low food security," meaning household members reduced their food intake.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the numbers could be higher in 2009 because of the global economic slowdown.


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