(Jan. 23, 2019) -- According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, over one-third of U.S. adults are obese. At the same time, obesity is the second leading cause of premature death in the North America and Europe.
A recent study by UTSA public policy professors Alexander Testa and Dylan Jackson assesses the link between food-related hardships and obesity. Using the data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) and Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Modified Retail Food Environment Index (mRFEI)—a national sample that measures food deserts, their study is the first of its kind to assess the relationship between experiencing food insecurity and living in a food desert on obesity.
Food insecurity, by definition, is the inability to acquire adequate food due to a lack of resources. In 2016, an estimated 15.6 million households (12.3 percent) were food insecure. Food deserts are geographic areas where residents do not have access to supermarkets or grocery stores.
Using a national sample of adults across the United States, the UTSA researchers learned that individuals who are food insecure are at an increased risk of obesity. Study results also showed that the individuals who live in food desert are at an elevated risk for obesity. Together, these findings suggest that Americans who either do not have enough to eat or live in areas without access to stores that sell affordable nutritious foods are at greater risk for obesity.
Regarding the study results, Professor Testa stated, “Our study highlights the importance of adequate nutrition for health. Millions of Americans do not have enough food to eat and live in communities where affordable healthy food options are not available. To combat obesity, it is important to ensure that people have consistent access to nutritious food.”
When taking gender and race into account, the researchers observed that women are more likely to exhibit obesity as a result of food insecurity, compared to men. This may be because women are more likely to shield their children from food insecurity by reducing their own nutritional intake. Overall, Black and Hispanic households are at a higher risk for food insecurity in the United States.
“The lack of access to food can be a major stressor on individuals, and our study finds that experiencing food hardships is particularly consequential for the health of women” said Professor Jackson.
In the future, the authors plan to continue to research how difficulties obtaining nutritious food are related to health problems and explore which types of programs may be effective in improving nutrition and health in the United States.
Celebrate UTSA’s 50th Anniversary and share social media posts about the 50th using the hashtag #UTSA50.
The Roadrunner community and nearby residents are highly encouraged to cast their votes at UTSA, a designated early voting site for the March 3 Texas presidential primary election.H-E-B Student Union, Bexar Room (HSU 1.102), Main Campus
The best way to learn what UTSA has to offer is to experience it for yourself. Come to our Open House and see all that UTSA has to offer. The day features admissions and financial aid workshops and presentations, campus tours and much more.Various Locations, Main Campus
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in health care, you won’t want to miss UTSA’s 14th annual Health Professions Day. Meet with representatives of health professions programs at schools such as Texas Tech University Health Science Center, University of Texas Medical Branch, University North Texas Health Science Center, University of the Incarnate Word, and many more. Free and open to UTSA students, local area college and high school students, and community members.Student Union, Retama Galleria (SU First Floor Corridor), Main Campus
An FBI subject matter expert will discuss the threat to U.S. technology and public sector from foreign adversaries, specific technologies sought and vectors used to illicitly obtain them, how to best safeguard intellectual property.Durango Building (DB 2.112A), Downtown Campus
Why just leap when you can dash? The Alumni Association’s 36th annual Diploma Dash 5K and City Championship is a great opportunity to run or walk for a great cause: scholarships for UTSA students.Main Campus
Students are encouraged to attend to obtain important information about Spring Commencement and life after UTSA. Graduating students can order their cap and gown and other items, win prizes and capture lasting memories with fellow Roadrunners at a selfie station. Participants should take a UTSA student ID for entry.H-E-B Student Union, Ballrooms (HSU 1.104/1.106), Main Campus
UTSA’s first Wellbeing Fair is a part of the President’s Initiative of Enriching Campus Wellbeing. UTSA is committed to the well-being of each member of the campus community and recognizes that numerous factors contribute to overall wellness: physical and mental health, diet and nutrition, physical activity, stress management and self-care, social behaviors and more. The fair will give students, faculty and staff an opportunity to participate in well-being activities, obtain well-being information and learn about available services. Participants will become more competent in making healthy decisions to take a more proactive approach in their own well-being.Paseo Principal, Student Union, Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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