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Food Insecurity May Increase Risk for Premature Death

TUESDAY, Jan. 21, 2020 -- Adults with food insecurity are more likely to die prematurely than food-secure people, according to a study published online Jan. 20 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Fei Men, Ph.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues used data from the Canadian Community Health Survey and the Canadian Vital Statistics Database (2005 to 2017) to evaluate the relationship between household food insecurity and all-cause and cause-specific mortality.

The researchers identified 510,010 adults, of whom 25,460 died prematurely by 2017. For food-secure adults and adults experiencing marginal, moderate, and severe food insecurity, death rates were 736, 752, 834, and 1,124 per 100,000 person-years, respectively. There was a higher risk for all-cause premature mortality for marginal, moderate, and severe food insecurity (adjusted hazard ratios [HRs], 1.10, 1.11, and 1.37, respectively). Those experiencing severe food insecurity died on average nine years earlier than their food-secure counterparts who experienced premature death (age 59.5 versus 68.9 years). Severe food insecurity was consistently associated with higher mortality across all causes of death except cancers, particularly infectious-parasitic diseases (adjusted HR, 2.24), unintentional injuries (adjusted HR, 2.69), and suicides (adjusted HR, 2.21).

"Efforts to reduce premature mortality should consider food insecurity as a relevant social determinant," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text

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Posted: January 2020