Our Top 9 Research Articles of 2020

by Eric Meredith, MEd, MS, RDN, CHES Consultant, Feeding America

With one of the nation’s worst pandemics still raging, waves of social change around the country, and a highly contested presidential campaign, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years in modern history. Even during these difficult times, Feeding America has continued to work toward its 2025 goal: Feeding America, in collaboration with our network and our partners, will ensure access to enough nutritious food for people struggling with hunger, and make meaningful progress toward ending hunger.

Many of our top article picks for 2020 explore how food insecurity affects the nutrition and overall health of different population groups including women, children, older adults, immigrants, and SNAP recipients.  Some of the research also discusses the effects of food insecurity on health conditions such as obesity, coronary heart disease, and diabetes. As we close out 2020, we are pleased to share our recommended reading list featuring some of the best hunger, health, and nutrition research from the past year.

Examining Associations of Food Insecurity with Major Depression among Older Adults in the Wake of the Great Recession

The objective of this study was to determine whether food insecurity transition status was associated with major depression in older adults and whether this association was moderated by the Great Recession.

SNAP Participants Improved Food Security and Diet After A Full-Service Supermarket Opened in An Urban Food Desert

This article explored the intersection of federal food assistance programs and tests the impact of a new full-service supermarket, financed by the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, on the dietary quality of SNAP participants in an urban food desert.

SNAP is Medicine for Food Insecurity

The article emphasized the need for pediatric providers to protect and enhance the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to prevent and alleviate food insecurity (FI) in the U.S. amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food Stamps, Food Insecurity, and Health Outcomes among Elderly Americans

This study examined associations between very low food security and health outcomes in older adults and tested whether participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) mitigates adverse health consequences associated with very low food security.

Food Insecurity, Acculturation and Diagnosis of CHD and Related Health Outcomes among Immigrant Adults in the USA

This study aimed to deepen the understanding of the relationship between food insecurity, acculturation, and diagnosis of coronary heart disease (CHD) and related health outcomes among immigrant adults.

The Right to Food: Building Upon “Food Is Medicine”

In this article, authors advocated for adoption of a framework of thinking and action based upon the concept of the right to food a concept. The healthcare sector can help lead change toward the recognition of food as a human right upheld by systems-level protections.

Food Insecurity during COVID-19

In this paper, researchers described the methods underpinning Map the Meal Gap, the approach Feeding America has used to make projections about the geography of food insecurity in 2020, and how food insecurity rates may have changed due to COVID‐19 since 2018.

Emerging Trends and the Clinical Impact of Food Insecurity in Patients with Diabetes

This review article explored the literature over the past 10 years pertaining to the complex relationship between food insecurity, social determinants of health, and chronic disease with an emphasis on diabetes and glycemic control.

The Hunger-obesity Paradox: Exploring Food Banking System Characteristics and Obesity Inequities Among Food-insecure Pantry Clients

This qualitative study examined key stakeholders’ perspectives of the relationship between the US food banking system and obesity disparities among food insecure clients.

Eric Meredith is a cultural competency consultant for Feeding America.  He currently serves as a Tribal Relations Specialist at a large government agency.  Prior to his current role, Eric was a community nutrition education program manager for the University of Illinois and federal government.