The number of hungriest Americans has risen over the past five years. Last year, the total share of food-insecure households stood at 11 percent.... The USDA said that 12 percent of Americans -- 35 million people -- could not put food on the table at least part of last year. Eleven million of them reported going hungry at times.
Beginning this year, the USDA has determined "very low food security" to be a more scientifically palatable description for that group.... Three years ago, the USDA asked the Committee on National Statistics of the National Academies "to ensure that the measurement methods USDA uses to assess households' access -- or lack of access -- to adequate food and the language used to describe those conditions are conceptually and operationally sound." Among several recommendations, the panel suggested that the USDA scrap the word hunger, which "should refer to a potential consequence of food insecurity that, because of prolonged, involuntary lack of food, results in discomfort, illness, weakness, or pain that goes beyond the usual uneasy sensation."
Optimistically, maybe the fact that the Republicans have decided to redefine hunger as a "security issue" means that they actually intend to do something about it, rather than merely regarding hunger as a bracing incentive for the morally feckless to pull themselves together.