How are hunger, poverty, obesity, food insecurity and food stamps connected? That’s the question this complex infographic attempts to answer, and its creator leveraged data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the CDC, and the USDA to reach her conclusions. Anne Mai Bertelsen, the creator of this graphic, is the leader of MAi Strategies and Principal at Causeshift. She created this chart to send a strong message that America needs a Hunger Data Consortium.
Why? Consider, argues Bertelsen, that our best data on U.S. hunger is over two years old. And when you acknowledge that over 49 million Americans suffer from hunger (or “food insecurity”), and over 17 million of those are children, you can understand why a consortium is needed. Despite decades of government programs and outreach from private citizens, hunger has actually increased over the past 20 years, which is why President Obama called on every American to help in his quest to eradicate childhood hunger in America by the year 2015.
But that’s unlikely to happen at the current pace. That’s because the data presently available is scattered, fragmented, and only available to professional researchers and policy makers, not the average Joe on the street. How can we collectively solve the national hunger problem if the average U.S. citizen can’t even look at the (antiquated) data?
The above infographic doesn’t answer questions, and it’s not supposed to. It simply can’t–not with data behind hunger missing and incomplete. The graphic indicates that states with heightened levels of food insecurity also tend to have high rates of obesity. It shows that 14 states have higher than the national average rate of both food insecurity and obesity. Looking for a link between the two? You won’t find it. Not until a hunger consortium is brought about so that all interested parties can have access to data. When they do, they’ll be able to perform a proper analysis, and as a nation, we’ll be closer to solving the national hunger and obesity crises.
Oval shaped designs draw you in, and the artist did an adequate job of that. The graphic catches your attention and fills you with an urge to make sense of it all.
I regretfully have to assign a B- to the content portion of my grading for one simple reason: this graphic makes your brain hurt (and perhaps it’s supposed to.) At first glance, you can’t make heads or tails of it, and no infographic should be byzantine. The point of an infographic is to make things simpler. In the artist’s fairness, this is a complicated issue with no clear-cut answers to the questions presented by the graphic. So maybe it isn’t simple for a reason: there’s no simple solution to the obesity and hunger crises.
Infograhic provided by: Anne Mai Bertelsen and Causeshift