What are the Connections Between Food Insecurity and Health?
The Hunger in America 2014 study found that many households served by the Feeding America® network of food banks include people coping with a diet-related chronic disease. Fifty-eight percent of households reported having at least one member with high blood pressure and 33 percent had at least one member with diabetes.
The cycle of food insecurity and chronic disease begins when an individual or family cannot afford enough nutritious food, illustrated by the image below. The combination of stress and poor nutrition can make disease management even more challenging. Further, the time and money needed to respond to these health conditions strains the household budget, leaving little money for essential nutrition and medical care. This causes the cycle to continue, increasing the risk of worsening existing conditions. Many families experiencing food insecurity often have several, if not all, compounding factors which makes maintaining good health extremely difficult.