Sunday, August 6, 2017
FOOD INSECURITY AFFECTS ADULT HEALTH
A new USDA report that examines the relationship between food security and the health of working adults finds lower food security is associated with higher probability of hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD), hepatitis, stroke, cancer, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and kidney disease. Food security status is also strongly related to (1) the likelihood of chronic disease in general, (2) the number of chronic conditions reported, and (3) to self-assessed health. Adults in households with very low food security were 15.3 percentage points more likely to have any chronic illness than adults in households with high food security, as is shown in the gure below. Adults in households with marginal food security were 9 percentage points less likely to report excellent health, compared to those in households with high food security. Moreover, differences between adults in households with marginal, low, and very low food security are very often statistically significant, which suggests that looking at the entire range of food security is important for understanding chronic illness and potential economic hardship. Indeed, food security status is more strongly predictive of chronic illness in some cases even than income.