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Food insecurity tied to high HbA1c in adolescents with type 1 diabetes

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February 13, 2018

Adolescents with type 1 diabetes livings in households with low and very low food security have higher HbA1c and higher prevalence of hospitalizations and ED visits compared with those living in households with marginal and high food security, study data show.

Jason A. Mendoza, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics and an adjunct associate professor of health services in the department of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues evaluated data from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study on 226 adolescents with type 1 diabetes (mean age, 15.6 years; 52.2% girls; 75.2% white; mean duration of diabetes, 7.5 years). Researchers sought to determine the associations between food insecurity and glycemic control, hospitalizations and ED visits. Food insecurity was defined as limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, and it was assessed using the Household Food Security Survey Module.

Overall, the prevalence of food insecurity in the study was 19% — which, the researchers noted, is higher than the 12.7% national prevalence — and 7.1% of participants lived in households with very low food security.

The odds for high-risk glycemic control (HbA1c > 9%) were 2.64 times higher in those living in food-insecure households compared with those living in secure households; after adjustment for covariates, the association remained significant (OR = 2.37; 95% CI, 1.1-5.09). Participants from food-insecure households had 2.96 times the risk for hospitalizations and 2.95 times the risk for ED visits compared with participants from food-secure households.

HbA1c was higher in participants from households with low (9.9%) and very low (9.9%) food security, compared with participants from households with marginal (8.7%) and high (9%) food security. – by Amber Cox

Disclosures: Mendoza reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.