Researchers link food insecurity to cardiovascular disease

By KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) Too many Americans have trouble putting nutritious food on the table, and that's been on the rise during the pandemic. Now, researchers have found one more reason to tackle this crisis.

Food insecurity is one of the nation's leading health and nutrition issues and it's killing us, according to Dr. Sameed Khatana, instructor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine.

"In the U.S., for non-elderly adults -— so that's the 20-to-64-year-old population — with increases of food insecurity levels, there was an increase in death from cardiovascular disease," he explained.

"This was after accounting for changes in several other factors like unemployment rates in an area, poverty levels, changes in the racial and ethnic demographic and profiles, etc."

Khatana said there are several reasons this might be happening.

"If a household or individual has difficulty affording food, they might not be able to afford the medications that are prescribed by their medical providers," he speculated.

Khatana added, "Other studies have shown a link between food insecurity and metabolic risk factors. Those are things like obesity and diabetes. If you can't afford healthy food, you might substitute it with less healthy options."

He said this is troubling because more than 13 million Americans struggle with food insecurity. The findings were published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.