Food insecurity linked to higher risk of cardiovascular death

November 09, 2020

DALLAS, Nov. 9, 2020 -- Increasing rates of food insecurity in counties across the U.S. are independently associated with an increase in cardiovascular death rates among adults between the ages of 20 and 64, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2020. The meeting will be held virtually, Friday, November 13 - Tuesday, November 17, 2020, and is a premier global exchange of the latest scientific advancements, research, evidence-based clinical practice updates in cardiovascular science for health care worldwide.

About 10% of adults in the U.S. are considered food insecure, meaning they lack immediate access to fresh, healthy and affordable food. In addition, the stress from not knowing where their next meal will come from or regularly consuming cheap, processed foods may have an adverse impact on cardiovascular health.

"Our study is one of the first national analyses to look at changes in both food insecurity and cardiovascular mortality over time, and to see if changes in food insecurity impact cardiovascular health," said study co-author Sameed Khatana, M.D., M.P.H., instructor of cardiovascular medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "This research shows food insecurity, which is a particular type of economic distress, is associated with cardiovascular disease. It illustrates that cardiovascular health is tied to many things. It's more than doctors' visits, screenings, medications and procedures; what is going on outside the clinic, in society, has a significant impact on patients' health, too."

Researchers accessed both the National Center for Health Statistics and the Map the Meal Gap study to analyze county-level data on cardiovascular death rates and food insecurity rates that occurred from 2011 to 2017, among adults age 20 to 64, and those 65 years old and older.

In their analysis, researchers examined cardiovascular mortality trends in the U.S. by average annual percent change in food insecurity. They assessed the relationship between changes in food insecurity and cardiovascular death rates, after adjusting for variables including changes in demographics, employment, poverty, income, health insurance and other factors already known to affect cardiovascular risk.

Among the key findings:"Overall, food insecurity rates did go down. However, while economic levels have improved when the country is measured as a whole, there has been a growing disparity demonstrating that parts of the country are being left behind," said Khatana.

Mercedes R. Carnethon Ph.D., FAHA, a member of the American Heart Association's Council on Epidemiology and Prevention Leadership Committee, said the analysis is comprehensive with some concerning trends.

"We know food insecurity and other social determinants of health can adversely impact heart and stroke risk factors like high blood pressure and diabetes, and this impact is disproportionately higher among traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups," said Carnethon, the Mary Harris Thompson Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. "Social determinants of health are likely to worsen against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. The effects will extend beyond this period of time and lead to future elevations in cardiovascular diseases among vulnerable populations. Unfortunately, the outlook is not favorable, and major societal infrastructure changes are necessary to improve this situation."

In the future, the authors intend to study whether interventions that improve food insecurity would, in fact, lead to better cardiovascular health.

"When policy makers are thinking about the cardiovascular health of communities, they need to consider things like food insecurity, as well as the overall social and economic well-being of the community," Khatana said. "Interventions that improve the economic well-being of a community could lead to improvements in cardiovascular health of the people living there."
-end-
Co-authors are Stephen Y. Wang, M.D., M.P.H.; Atheendar S. Venkataramani, M.D., Ph.D.; Christina A. Roberto, Ph.D.; Lauren A. Eberly, M.D., M.P.H.; and Peter W. Groeneveld, M.D., M.S. Author disclosures are in the abstract. The authors reported no external funding for this study.

This abstract will be presented in Session QU.AOS.765 Social Determinants of Cardiovascular Health.

Additional Resources:

Multimedia, including a video perspective interview with Mercedes R. Carnethon Ph.D., FAHA, a member of the American Heart Association's Council on Epidemiology and Prevention Leadership Committee and the Mary Harris Thompson Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, may be downloaded from the right column of the release link https://newsroom.heart.org/news/food-insecurity-linked-to-higher-risk-of-cardiovascular-death?preview=d4805d239a85d841ae82ba6904af0455

Spanish News Release
COVID-19's economic fallout expands food insecurity, as groups scramble to help
Environment, culture, other social determinants play big role in heart health
Grocery Shopping Without a Car
5 Easy Ways to Find Healthier Options While Grocery Shopping
Encuentre más historias en español de AHA News aquí

For more news at AHA Scientific Sessions 2020, follow us on Twitter @HeartNews #AHA20.

Statements and conclusions of studies that are presented at the American Heart Association's scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the Association's policy or position. The Association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The Association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific Association programs and events. The Association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and biotech companies, device manufacturers and health insurance providers are available here, and the Association's overall financial information is available here.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public's health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

American Heart Association

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.