The High Cost of Food Insecurity

February 08, 2016
The high cost of food insecurity

Food insecurity—the inability to regularly purchase or acquire enough nutritious food to be healthy—impacts about 49 million Americans and has a number of serious effects on their lives. Besides causing health and development problems, it also leads to intense stress and behavioral issues and widens the academic achievement gap. And now recent research from the University of Illinois reveals yet another serious consequence of food insecurity: increased healthcare costs, which have a devastating effect on those most at risk for food insecurity.

The list of health problems related to food insecurity includes asthma, birth defects, anemia, diabetes, hypoglycemia, anxiety and depression, aggression, and other behavior problems. And the difference in health care costs for food-insecure people is staggering—costs were 49% higher than average for people who were food-insecure. And those facing very low food security (the severest form of food insecurity) had healthcare costs that were 121% higher. According to the research, these costs impacted various aspects of care, including emergency room visits, hospitalization, doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, and home healthcare visits.

Increased healthcare costs can have serious consequences for families who are already struggling with poverty, which is the unfortunate reality for many residents in tCI communities. The Claretian Initiative’s nutrition programs help tackle the problem by fighting food insecurity. The Bread of Life Food Pantry in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and the Kids Meal Program in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago help improve the health of the community by alleviating food deserts and making sure that all children and families have enough nutritious, sustaining food to meet their needs.

Please consider making a donation to these crucial nutrition programs to help build healthier communities.
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Learn more about the tCI programs fighting food insecurity:

Learn more about the Bread of Life Food Pantry Learn more about the Kids Meal Program