The Effects of Food Insecurity on Health Outcomes

by Staff

Food insecurity has a significant influence on our well-being, and it’s linked to a higher risk of developing diet-related issues and conditions. If a family’s unable to buy nutritious food, it worsens their health and means they’re more susceptible to disease.

Proper nutrition education shows that good options include fresh fruit and vegetables and low-fat fish and poultry. To fight the problem, efforts must be made to allow easy access to these items across the United States. Let’s look at the problem, its causes and effects, appropriate health behaviors, and how authorities oppose it.

What is Food Insecurity?

The F.A.O. defines food insecurity as the inability to get enough nourishment to live healthily. It’s a way of measuring how many people can’t afford food in a particular population. Food insecurity can be temporary for a family going through hard times. It may also be a family’s daily reality. It’s a significant public health concern.

Consistent food insecurity in a household increases the risk of chronic illnesses. Obesity, diabetes, mental health issues, and heart problems are very common in food-insecure homes. This issue worsens infections, poor oral health, arthritis, back problems, and injuries. The examples of more detailed essays on food insecurity in America by Studydriver’s professional writers dwell upon this notion more thoroughly. These households include children. Prospects for human development are limited when kids don’t have the right means to bloom.

Nutrient deficiency diseases are common. It impacts a child’s mental and physical development. This affects cognitive performance in school and concentration. Failure to perform well in school can impact future career development. It’s a vicious cycle, repeated for the next generation.

Leading Motives for Food Insecurity

These are some of the most common reasons behind the issue:

  • Insufficient resources to have an adequate or healthy diet.
  • Difficulty to get healthy, affordable foods.
  • Lack of resources to get appliances and utensils to preserve and cook nourishment.
  • Disorders including deprivation and overeating.
  • High levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Fewer opportunities for outdoor activities.

Those who can’t afford to eat properly must sacrifice other necessities. Healthcare, housing, and personal development are all essential to living a healthy life. In food-insecure households, this becomes challenging. People diminish the quality and price of their nourishment to afford other costs. Nutritious meals are more expensive than fast or frozen ones. Yet, if you have little money, you’re forced to buy cheaper stuff.

At times, nourishment is sometimes unavailable due to the small number of supermarkets with healthy options. This is more common in suburban and urban areas. Healthy alternatives can be too far away. Transporting in rural localities is expensive. Thus, some communities have less money to spend on a balanced diet.

There are districts full of convenience stores and supermarkets that sell inexpensive, calorie-dense foods. They’re called ‘food swamps‘. It’s cheap and easy to buy soda, snacks, chocolate, and other high-sugar foods. They reduce the intake of affordable healthy options. Also, they increase the accessibility and temptation of cheaper, unhealthy foods.

It is a social issue, too. It affects minority groups in the country. These include racial and ethnic minorities such as African American and Indigenous populations. Additionally, disadvantaged people lack proper nutrients, as money is a significant factor.

The Effects of Food Insecurity on Human Health

According to the Food Research and Action Center, people are more likely to become obese if in this situation. Fewer or restricted nutritious options increase the chance of getting overweight. Medical studies show that the female population has a higher rate than men.

In 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 38.3 million people lived in these precarious circumstances. This is an alarming figure that’s still rising, given the risks linked to it. One of the many implications of eating unhealthily is premature mortality.

Under half of the adults experiencing this situation reported reducing, skipping, or delaying prescriptions because they could not afford them. This will worsen their health and increase the strain on public health care services. If everyone could get healthy food and necessary medication, sickness would be reduced. The consequences would be fewer people in hospitals and long-term economic benefits.

Food Insecurity and Mental Problems

Food insecurity hinders mental well-being. The barriers to nutritious food intake increase the risk of experiencing anxiety disorders, depression, or suicidal thoughts. Additionally, postpartum depression is more likely to develop in new mothers affected by the problem. Their struggle for an adequate diet affects a nursing baby’s intake of nutrients.

Some medications need you to have a full stomach when you take them, and this can be difficult in some cases. Nutritious foods are also needed to improve medication efficacy. These factors increase mental instability symptoms, which affect others around the subject.

Ways to Combat Food Insecurity

There are many initiatives governments and health authorities developed to tackle the issue. These include local health strategies that engage communities and address the gap between intake and availability.

These regulations include:

  • Taxing high-sugar drinks to discourage consumption as they have in Europe.
  • Removing taxes on fruits, vegetables, and water.
  • Implementing regulations in supermarkets to decrease the price of healthy foods.
  • Placement and promotions to encourage people to buy nourishing foods.


There’s no medicine that can substitute proper nourishment and natural vitamins. Understanding the issue is crucial for the well-being of future generations. But there’s also something more current and related to the resources of our society. Every study or essay on food insecurity should also insist on the environmental and financial benefits that solving this issue will bring.

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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