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Food insecurity in young adults raises risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma

Food insecurity in young adults raises risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma
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Food insecurity in young adults raises risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma

Stress, fasting-binging, calorie-dense eating may lead to inflammation and insulin resistance

Oct 1, 2019

Source: University of California – San Francisco

A paradox of food insecurity in wealthy countries is its association with excess weight. Now, a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco finds that young adults in the United States who are food insecure not only are slightly more likely to be obese, they are significantly more likely to suffer from disorders associated with high body mass index, as well as obstructive airway diseases like asthma.

In the study, which tracked close to 15,000 young adults who were representative of their peers nationwide, the researchers found that 1,647 (11 percent) were food insecure, defined as lacking “sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets individuals’ dietary needs and preferences for an active and healthy life.”

The study appears in the Journal of General Internal Medicine on Oct. 1, 2019.

The researchers, led by first author Jason Nagata, MD, of the UCSF Department of Pediatrics, found a 7 percent difference between the two groups in the incidence of obesity: 36 percent of the food-secure group versus 43 percent for the food-insecure cohort.

Cyclic Nature of Food Insecurity May Promote Diabetes

But when the researchers looked at the rate of diabetes among the 14,786 participants, who were aged between 24 and 32, they found that more than twice as many in the food-insecure group — 5.1 percent compared with 2.2 percent — said that they had been told by a medical provider that they had diabetes.

“The cyclic nature of food insecurity, reflective of monthly paychecks and food assistance, may promote insulin resistance, due to alternating periods of food abundance and food shortage,” said Nagata. Other factors that may play a role in diabetes include the consumption of cheaper, calorie-dense foods with a high content of fats and carbohydrates, and a low intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, he said.

The food-insecure group was also more likely to report that they had been told by a medical provider that they had high blood pressure: 16 percent versus 11 percent for the food-secure participants.

“Chronic stress from food insecurity may contribute to insulin resistance, obesity and high blood pressure,” said senior author Sheri Weiser, MD, of the UCSF Department of Medicine. “Stress can activate the neuro-endocrine system and stimulate the release of glucocorticoids, which can alter metabolism, lead to increased fat accumulation and storage, and amplify binge-eating behavior.”

Stress Linked to Inflammation, a Factor in Asthma

Stress also plays a role in asthma, as well as other obstructive airway diseases like chronic bronchitis or emphysema. Among the food-secure group, 14 percent said they had been told by a medical provider that they had at least one…

Leer el resto del artículo en www.ucsf.edu