Patients with food insecurity were more likely to not meet a variety of health behaviors and clinical measures often associated with CV health, according to a research letter in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Food insecurity, defined as limited food availability due to lack of money and resources, affected 12.7% of households in the United States in 2015 and has been formerly linked to obesity and poor diet, according to background information.
Researchers analyzed data from 7,802 participants aged 20 to 65 years from 2007 to 2012. Information was obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants had household incomes that did not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level.
Household food insecurity was gauged by the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module. Participants were stratified into three groups: food security, marginal food security or food insecurity.
The outcomes were attainment of standards for four health behaviors — BMI, physical activity, smoking and diet — and three health factors — fasting plasma glucose level, BP and total cholesterol level, the researchers wrote.
The link between household food insecurity and CV health metrics was assessed using logistic regression models. Multivariable adjustments also were made for factors such as sex, age, household incomes and race/ethnicity.
Among the cohort, 27.2% were food insecure, 15.1% were marginally food secure and 57.7% were food secure. Smoking behavior was inversely associated with food insecurity (OR = 0.58; 95% CI, 0.48-0.7).
An inverse association was noted for physical activity and food security among men (OR = 0.71; 95% CI, 0.58-0.87). Women exhibited this link for diet quality (OR = 0.71; 95% CI, 0.54-0.93) and BMI (OR = 0.71; 95% CI, 0.57-0.89).
Researchers also analyzed the link between food insecurity and ideal CV health. When compared with adults who are food secure, participants who were food insecure had a lower probability of achieving three or more health metrics.
“Results of this study highlight another important health consequence of food insecurity,” Cindy Leung, ScD, MPH, postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine’s Center for Health and Community, and colleagues wrote. “Rather than focusing solely on nutrition, those designing interventions or policies may want to consider a holistic approach to health promotion to reduce disparities among populations at risk for food insecurity.” – by Darlene Dobkowski
The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.