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April 1, 2021

Prioritizing Nutrition Security in the US

Author Affiliations
  • 1Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC
  • 3World Central Kitchen, Washington, DC
JAMA. 2021;325(16):1605-1606. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.1915

The prevalence of nutrition-sensitive conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes has increased substantially in the US during the past 30 years. These conditions, combined with other diet-related ones such as cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers, are associated with the majority of morbidity, mortality, and health care spending nationally. Simultaneously, income inequality has increased, with accompanying self-reported food insecurity disproportionately affecting individuals with lower incomes. Food insecurity has been defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food, and in 2019 was estimated to affect 10.5% of US households.1 Food insecurity and poor nutrition are closely linked: individuals who report being most food insecure also have higher risks of developing obesity, diabetes, hypertension, coronary disease, stroke, cancer, and associated conditions, even after adjusting for other risks such as age, sex, employment, marital status, race/ethnicity, smoking, insurance status, family size, education, and income.2

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