Food and nutrition insecurity is defined as the inability to obtain or purchase adequate food or healthy food for one’s overall health and well-being. Food and nutrition insecurity does not necessarily imply that someone goes without food; it may also indicate that they are not eating the best foods. This might be because healthful meals are difficult to get in certain places or are too costly for many people to purchase. This is a difficulty that many individuals with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, face.
What Are the Root Causes of Food and Nutrition Insecurity?
Food and nutrition instability has several reasons. The majority of food and nutrition insecurity issues are linked to socioeconomic determinants of health, such as:
Unemployment or low income
Inadequate access to healthful foods.
A scarcity of affordable homes.
Inadequate access to health care.
These factors make resolving food and nutrition insecurity difficult. The good news is that there are several food aid programs available at the national, state, and local levels.
Why is food and nutrition insecurity linked to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes?
According to research, food and nutrition instability increases the chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes. Adults who are food and nutrition insecure are two to three times more likely to develop diabetes than those who are not food and nutrition insecure.
Some individuals may find nutritious meals to be overly pricey, limiting their healthy diet options. Foods that are less expensive and easy to get are often of lesser quality and heavy in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium (salt). While these meals might supply enough calories to carry you through the day, they can also raise your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
What Effect Does Food and Nutrition Insecurity Have on Diabetes Management?
Food and nutrition poverty may impair diabetes management in those who already have diabetes. Food and nutrition poverty may contribute to increased A1c values, diabetes-related problems, hospitalizations, and poor mental health in people with diabetes.
A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins is essential for diabetes treatment. However, some of these items may be more expensive than foods that are rich in calories but poor in nutrients. While lesser nutritious meals are less expensive and give lots of calories, they might produce frequent blood sugar spikes (hyperglycemia), which can raise the risk of diabetes-related problems such as nerve damage or eyesight loss.
Some diabetics may only be able to afford enough food to eat once a day, making diabetes management difficult. Skipping meals increases the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which is harmful.
People with diabetes pay twice as much for health care as individuals who do not have diabetes. As a consequence, some diabetics are often forced to choose between treating their diabetes and putting food on the table (a situation known colloquially as “treat or eat”). People may put off filling medications, reusing needles, and testing their blood sugar less often than suggested in order to save money. This is risky and may result in major diabetic complications.
People with diabetes may save money and manage their diabetes by taking advantage of food assistance programs, low-cost pharmaceutical programs, and ideas on how to live healthily on a limited budget. Purchasing frozen fruits and vegetables, utilizing coupons, and purchasing generic may all help you save money. A diabetes care and education professional may also assist persons with diabetes in developing a diet plan that matches their lifestyle and budget.
How Can People Get Assistance With Food and Nutrition Insecurity?
Nobody should have to choose between “treat or eat” any day of the week. There is assistance available. Anyone who is having difficulty acquiring healthful food should look for a food bank or food pantry in their area. They may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as well (SNAP). People who see a doctor for diabetic treatment might also discuss any difficulties they are experiencing. Doctors may be able to give information and resources on various food and nutrition programs, budget-friendly diabetic meal plans, saving money on diabetes treatment, coping methods, and, if necessary, alter medication.