The potential consequences of food insecurity regarding physical and mental health
In 2012, 33.1 million adults in the United States experienced food insecurity[i]. Food insecurity can have wide-ranging detrimental consequences on the physical and mental health of adults, including more vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and seniors. Lack of access to a nutritious and adequate food supply has implications not only for the development of physical and mental disease, but also behaviors and social skills.
Food insecurity in adults is associated with a variety of negative physical health outcomes.
Food insecure adults between the ages of 18 and 65[ii],[iii],[iv]
and seniors over age 65[v]
may receive fewer nutrients, which may hinder their ability to live a full and active life.
Food insecurity is associated with lower scores on physical and mental health exams.[vi]
Food insecure adults have an increased risk of developing diabetes.[vii],[viii]
Food insecurity is associated with a range of chronic illnesses such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and various cardiovascular risk factors.[ix]
Food insecurity in adults has a demonstrated relationship with a number of mental health issues and human behavior problems.
Food insecure adults may experience higher levels of aggression and anxiety.[x],[xi]
Food insecurity has also been correlated with slower developing social skills. [xii]
Food insecurity may be detrimental to the health of expectant mothers as it is associated with a range of physical and mental complications.
Food insecure mothers may receive fewer nutrients and experience long term physical health problems.[xiii]
Food insecure women may be at greater risk of major depression and other mental health problems. [xiv],[xv]