Exacerbations in health disparities were highlighted during the 2020 pandemic, with data showing increased food insecurity in households with children, despite overall figures not showing a significant increase in rates of food insecurity.
In an interview with HCPLive®Ryan Buchholz, MD, deputy chief medical officer, Unity Health Care, noted that figures show that about 1 in 7 households with children experienced food insecurity in 2020, including 20% of black households and over 25% of single-parent households.
Buchholz recently presented a talk linking food insecurity to excess body mass at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2021 Virtual Meeting.
Additionally, he pointed out that the increase in excess body mass doubled in children aged 2 to 19 from the previous year and ultimately presented some potential theories in the immediate setting.
“Clearly, less food availability and affordability can attract families to more calorie dense and less healthy foods, he said. Then there is also a physiological response to stress that increases the release of food. hormones and potentially increases appetite. “
Additionally, Buchholz discussed the risk of food swamps, where food is accessible, but there are poorer quality foods and less healthy options available for families. He said some social programs, such as preventative pantries, are ways in which some most-at-risk communities tackle food insecurity issues.
He noted that the increase in time indoors resulting from the pandemic had also affected children’s health, with limited access to outdoor spaces and the increase in screen time may have adversely affected children’s body mass. .
Next, Buchholz spoke about the co-morbid factors affecting children facing food insecurity, ranging from an assessment of poor health to conditions such as diabetes and depression.
“Food insecurity is associated with many health problems in children,” said Buchholz.