Food Insecurity and Diet-Related Disease: Self-Reports on Health from Clients at Charitable Feeding Programs
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Between April and August 2013, more than 60,000 clients at 12,500 feeding programs across the country participated in this study by completing a survey that included questions about clients’ individual and household demographics, health status, food insecurity and coping strategies, and participation in government and charitable food assistance programs. The survey was administered to clients using a touchscreen tablet device and Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview (ACASI) technology.
The results of this study indicate that there is a high prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in the population served by its network and that 84 percent of client households are food insecure. Using this dataset, we explore the intersection of food insecurity, the health status of client households, the reported incidence of diabetes and hypertension, and the use of coping strategies clients employ in an effort to feed themselves and their families. Data on other material hardship measures are also analyzed, including reported tradeoffs between food purchases and medicine/medical care and other basic needs (e.g., utility costs, transportation). These tradeoffs may be exacerbated in households with the dual burden of food insecurity and chronic disease. Further research on these topics is critical given that individuals struggling with food insecurity are at higher risk of developing diet-sensitive chronic diseases.