FOOD INSECURITY has been linked to the development of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, according to the results of a recently published study. With food insecurity on the rise in developed countries, and having been previously linked to health disadvantages, the researchers set out to learn more about food insecurity in regard to Type 2 diabetes mellitus. The study’s first author, Christopher Tait, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, outlined the motivations behind the study: “Increasingly, food insecurity is being recognised as a significant social and health problem in Canada, but there is not a great deal of evidence that has linked food insecurity to the risk of future chronic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes.” At present, there are an estimated 3.2 million individuals in Canada who live in households that are food-insecure; food insecurity means that economic considerations influence what food an individual buys and the way in which that food is purchased. Therefore, a greater understanding of the health impacts of this economic condition is vital. The research team commented: “Current estimates of the future health consequences associated with food insecurity are needed to inform health decision-makers of potential areas for upstream intervention to alleviate the burden Type 2 diabetes places on the Canadian healthcare system.”
As such, the study authors used a validated diabetes registry to conduct a longitudinal population-based cohort study. The study cohort comprised 4,739 individuals who had responded to the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey. The researchers used the Ontario Diabetes Database to discern incident Type 2 diabetes mellitus cases and the Household Food Security Survey Module to determine food security. There was shown to be an increased risk of the development of Type 2 diabetes mellitus as a result of living in a food insecure household compared to a food secure household (hazard ratio: 2.40; 95% confidence interval: 1.17–4.94), with a further adjustment for BMI reducing this association (hazard ratio: 2.08; 95% confidence interval: 0.99–4.36).
The authors noted: “In the context of chronic disease prevention, further research is needed to determine the most effective strategies for counselling patients with limited financial resources to make healthy dietary changes.”