USDA: Chronic Disease Linked to Food Security

Adults in U.S. households that are less food secure are significantly more likely to have one or more chronic diseases, and the likelihood increases as food insecurity worsens.

Researchers with the Economic Research Service looked at the rate of five chronic diseases across four levels of household food security, ranging from high food security to very low food security. High food security households have no problems or anxiety about consistently obtaining adequate food. Very low food-secure households feature eating patterns of one or more household members that got disrupted and reduced their food intake. From 2019-2022, the predicted illness prevalence among the five chronic diseases examined was 3.6 to 9.5 percentage points higher for adults in very low food-secure households compared to those with high food-secure households.

For example, hypertension was found in 36 percent of very low food secure households, showing that food security status and health are closely linked.