Seventeen million U.S. households are food insecure—without steady and dependable access to enough food to support active, healthy lives for all household members. Numerous studies have linked limited or uncertain access to adequate food to poorer nutritional, physical and mental health among adults and children. Although food insecurity and obesity would appear to be contradictory issues, there is growing concern that they are related.
This research synthesis finds little evidence of a direct link for children. It reviews studies examining the possible relationship between food insecurity and obesity in the United States, with a focus on children and families. It also examines studies on whether federal nutrition assistance programs play any role in increased risk of obesity among youths and adults.
“Food Insecurity and Risk for Obesity Among Children and Families: Is There a Relationship?” was prepared by Nicole Larson and Mary Story of Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Key results highlighted in the synthesis include: