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Advocacy List

Hunger Hurts Pennsylvanians' Health

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

  • Low household food security for children can lead to an increased risk for obesity.
  • Food insecure families who participate in SNAP are twice as likely to be healthy than those who don't participate in the program.
  • 85% of surveyed physicians agree that unmet social needs lead to worse health for Americans and are therefore just as important to address as medical conditions.

A Longitudinal Study of Food Insecurity on Obesity in Preschool Children

Metallinos-Katsaras, E., Must, A., & Gorman, K. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dec. 2012.

  • "Persistent household food insecurity without hunger was associated with 22% greater odds of child obesity compared with those persistently food secure."

The SNAP Vaccine: Boosting Children's Health

Children's Health Watch, Feb. 2012

Children whose families received SNAP benefits, compared to those which were eligible but not receiving the benefits, were:

  • Less likely to be underweight and have developmental delays.
  • Less likely to live in a household that had to make trade-offs such as deciding between paying for rent, bills or healthcare and paying for food.
  • More likely to be food secure.

Making the Connection: Linking Policies that Prevent Hunger and Child Obesity

Leadership for Healthy Communities: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Feb. 2012.

Low-income people are disproportionately affected by obesity compared to the general population. Some policy suggestions in this brief include:

  • Increase access to nutritious foods: for every 3.3 feet of shelf space offering fresh vegetables, residents consume an additional 0.35 servings of vegetables per day.
  • Serve nutritious food in public facilities: students who participate in federal nutrition programs have healthier diets than those that eat those meals elsewhere.
  • Promote programs that provide supplemental nutrition: the WIC program can address both childhood hunger and obesity by supporting the purchase of specific nutrient-rich foods.

Nutrient and MyPyramid Analysis of USDA Foods in Five of Its Food and Nutrition Programs

USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Research Analysis. Jan. 2012.

  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) packages delivered to low-income elderly participants contain about 1/4 of total energy needs.
  • USDA foods selected by schools for the National School Lunch Program provided 28% of the total recommended dietary allowance for protein for children.
  • Vegetables and meat accounted for 43% of USDA foods delivered through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

Health Care's Blind Side: The Overlooked Connection between Social Needs and Good Health

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Dec. 2011

  • 85% of the physicians surveyed said "unmet social needs are directly leading to worse health."
  • Many of the physicians surveyed said they wish they could write prescriptions to address social needs -- 64% said they would write prescriptions for nutritious food.

Food Insecurity and Obesity: Understanding the Connections

Food Research and Action Center. Spring 2011.

Some factors which may make food insecure or low-income individuals at-risk for obesity:

  • High levels of stress
  • Lack of access to healthy, affordable food
  • Cycle of overeating after periods of having to skip meals due to food insecurity
  • Limited access to healthcare

Several studies have shown evidence for a higher risk of obesity among food insecure women.

Food Insecurity is Associated with Hypoglycemia and Poor Diabetes Self-Management in a Low-Income Sample with Diabetes

Davis, T.C., Schillinger, D., Seligman, H.K., and Wolf, M.S. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. Nov. 2010

Diabetes self-management - comparison of food insecure and food secure individuals...

Ever take less medicine than prescribed because could not afford to buy more food:

  • Food insecure individuals: 38.9%
  • Food secure individuals: 13.6%

Ever check blood sugar less than supposed to because couldn't afford supplies:

  • Food insecure individuals: 33.3%
  • Food secure individuals: 9.1%

Blood sugar ever gotten too low because you couldn't afford enough food:

  • Food insecure individuals: 33.3%
  • Food secure individuals: 4.6%