Chronic disease risk increased with U.S. household food insecurity

Vertical bar chart showing predicted prevalences of stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and hypertension for adults in low-income households between 2019 and 2022.

From 2019–22, the predicted prevalence of five selected chronic diseases was 1.9 to 9.5 percentage points higher for adults in very low food-secure households than those in high food-secure households. Researchers at USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) recently updated estimates of the relationship between food security status and chronic disease among working-age adults in U.S. households with incomes at or below 200 percent of the Federal poverty level. They looked at the prevalence of stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and hypertension across four levels of household food security, ranging from high food security (households that reported no problems with or anxiety about being able to consistently obtain adequate amounts of food) to very low food security (in which eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake was reduced). Adults in households that were less food secure were more likely to have one or more chronic disease, and the likelihood increased as food insecurity worsened. The prior data from 2011–15 and the more recent data from 2019–22 demonstrate a close link between food security status and health. This chart updates information in the ERS report Food Insecurity, Chronic Disease, and Health Among Working Age Adults, published in July 2017.

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