We’re taking a closer look at the Cycle of Hunger and Health Problems. What is it? And how do we break it?
Not only are food-insecure individuals more likely to develop diet-related diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, but those chronic illnesses can further deplete their resources and keep them in need.
It can be a vicious cycle, but if we understand why it happens, we can work as a community to break it.
When an individual or family becomes food insecure, they cope by purchasing food that is low cost and often of low nutritional value.
Why spend money on expensive items like fresh produce and meat when you can feed yourself or your family with a frozen pizza or fast food for a fraction of the cost?
These low-cost alternatives are highly accessible, but they are also high in fat, salt, and calories.
The combination of a high-calorie, low-nutrient diet combined with the long-term stress that comes from strained finances can lead to chronic disease.
The expense of managing a chronic disease—increased doctor’s visits and daily medicine—further drains resources and can even affect employment opportunities.
Now more than ever, that individual needs healthy, nourishing food but can’t afford it because of limited income and mounting medical costs.
Our food-insecure neighbors manage by purchasing inexpensive, low quality meals, and the cycle starts over again.
BREAK THE CYCLE
We can stop this cycle by making fresh, healthy food more accessible for those facing hunger.
Programs like Mobile Pantry and The Produce Truck bring perishable food into communities that need it most, and our SNAP Outreach helps food-insecure individuals stretch their dollars at the grocery store.
We can’t do it alone. Partners like LifePoint Health are essential in increasing access to nutritious food. In recent years, they have helped us secure hundreds of thousands of pounds of fresh produce that we then distribute through Mobile Pantries and Partner Agencies.