Food insecurity linked with increased risk of cardiovascular disease ─Study

*Researchers say food insecurity has been on the rise since outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, as more consumers are struggling to put food on the table for their families

*Helping communities most affected by food insecurity could have lasting benefits

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Recent studies have highlighted how limited access to food can affect consumers in a myriad of ways.

ConsumerConnect learnt these include the increasing the risk of obesity and premature death, and negatively affecting kids in the classroom and their overall development.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, in fresh study found that food insecurity is also linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Researcher Dr. Sameed Khatana said: “This research gives us a better understanding of the connection between economic distress and cardiovascular disease.

“What’s going on outside the clinic has significant impact on patients’ health. There are many factors beyond the medication we may be prescribing that can influence their well-being, food insecurity being one of them.”

In terms of improving food access, and understanding how food insecurity could lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in the study, the researchers analysed data from both the Map the Meal Gap study and the National Center for Health Statistics. The research broke down six years’ worth of data about food insecurity and subsequent health outcomes on a county-by-county basis across the country.

They observed a direct link between increased food insecurity and more cases of cardiovascular disease.

According to the researchers, the risk of cardiovascular disease was nearly 90 percent higher per 100,000 people in areas where food insecurity was most prevalent.

Food insecurity has been on the rise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On top of concerns about infection, experts have found that more consumers are struggling to put food on the table for their families.

Going forward, they plan to see if targeting food insecurity in the communities most affected by it could benefit heart health outcomes.

Dr. Khatana stated: “There has been a growing disparity when it comes to food insecurity, and this data demonstrates that parts of the country are being left behind.

“Unfortunately, this may only get worse as the country grapples with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the researchers recommended that interventions that improve a community’s economic well-being could potentially lead to improved community cardiovascular health.

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