Hungry Americans get "A Place at the Table" in new documentary

Fri Mar 1, 2013 3:37pm EST
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By Andrea Burzynski

NEW YORK (Reuters) - What do a police officer, a teacher, a rancher, and a second grader have in common? They all go hungry despite living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

Documentary film "A Place at the Table," which opens nationwide on Friday, shines a spotlight on the prevalence of hunger in the United States through the personal stories of some of the millions of Americans who struggle to feed themselves and their families.

"There is this perception that it's a tiny marginalized group of people who are facing it, but at this point we're looking at 50 million Americans," director and producer Lori Silverbush told Reuters.

Silverbush and fellow director Kristi Jacobson said that the scope of problem remains largely hidden in the United States because people often associate hunger with images of children with sunken cheeks in developing countries. Many citizens are also ashamed to admit they cannot afford enough food.

"It's not what we are conditioned to think hunger looks like," Jacobson said.

Hunger and obesity sometimes coexist in the same person, and "A Place at the Table" draws connections between this seeming paradox.

In the film, New York University nutrition professor Marion Nestle notes that the price of processed foods has decreased by 40 percent since 1980 while the price of fruit and vegetables has gone up by the same amount. The price disparity has helped drive the obesity epidemic, especially among low-income groups, she contends.


Barbie Izquierdo and her two children cook dinner in the film "A Place at the Table" in this undated publicity handout photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. REUTERS/Magnolia Pictures/Handout