One of the most significant health issues facing the United States today is food insecurity, affecting 50 million people. Decreased access to food is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. An estimated 34.1 million American adults have uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. Researchers conducted a study to assess if improved access to food can help reduce hemoglobin A1c levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
The study was performed at a Federally Qualified Health Center serving a large population of Hispanic patients. Community food resources were given the names of qualifying patients over 18 diagnosed with type 2 diabetes who identified as food insecure using a risk assessment tool. A total of 42 patients participated in the study with an average age of 55.8 years.
At the end of the 12-week study, 95% of the participants filled out the follow-up survey. Of those who filled out the questionnaire, 97% said they used the community food resources at least once. Healthcare providers tested hemoglobin A1c levels at the beginning and end of the study. The researchers discovered that there was a significant improvement in hemoglobin A1c levels at the end of the study.
Food insecurity is a significant health issue in the United States and a factor in developing type 2 diabetes. Statistically, low-income populations, such as Latinos, face an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and food insecurity.
This study suggests that low-income patients with type 2 diabetes and food insecurity can improve their hemoglobin A1c levels with increased access to food. Americans could benefit from the implementation of routine food insecurity screenings and referral programs in health centers across the country .
Source: Ofili, M. N., & Lawson, R. (2020). The Impact of Food Insecurity Screenings and Community Food Resource Referrals for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, 13(4). https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/jhdrp/vol13/iss4/4