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Not being able to afford healthy foods may increase diabetes risk

THURSDAY, May 12, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Young adults who struggle with food face an increased risk of diabetes later in life, possibly due to the long-term effects of eating cheaper foods. and less nutritious.

That’s the conclusion of researchers who analyzed data from nearly 4,000 people from the US National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health.

Between ages 32 and 42, diabetes rates were higher among those who reported food insecurity between ages 24 and 32 than among those who did not have food difficulties at those younger ages, the study found.

“When we look at the data 10 years later, we see this separation in the prevalence of diabetes: those who experienced a risk of food insecurity in early adulthood are more likely to have diabetes in middle age. adulthood,” said Cassandra Nguyen, lead author of the study. She is an assistant professor in the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health at Washington State University.

Previous research has linked food insecurity to a number of health problems – such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure – but this study showed a connection over time, suggesting a relationship causal, the researchers noted.

The exact reasons for the association between food insecurity and increased risk of diabetes are unclear, but previous research has shown that food insecurity often leads to poor nutrition.

“Eating according to dietary guidelines tends to cost more, and it can take longer,” Nguyen said in a university press release. “It’s not always accessible to households that have limitations such as transportation to lower-cost, nutrient-dense food sources.”

Nguyen also pointed out that food insecurity can create a cycle of negative reinforcement: food insecurity can lead to a diet that contributes to disease risk, leading to additional health expenditures that further exacerbate a household’s financial hardship and worsen food insecurity.

While the researchers found racial/ethnic differences, the number of minorities in the study may be too low to prove a trend.

The results were recently published in Jhe Nutrition review.

“It’s really important to make sure people who are food insecure can be identified and have the resources to be able to break the cycle,” Nguyen concluded.

More information

There’s more on food insecurity at Hunger + Health.

SOURCE: Washington State University, press release, May 9, 2022

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