People with inadequate access to food due to their economic strata are not only at risk of nutrient deficiency but also of premature mortality reveals a new study. They are 10 to 37 percent more likely to die prematurely from any cause other than cancer compared to those who can afford nutritious food. The study was published in the journal CMAJ.
"Among adults who died prematurely, those experiencing severe food insecurity died at age nine years earlier than their food-secure counterparts," said study lead author Fei Men from the University of Toronto in Canada.
The researchers studied data from the Canadian Community Health Survey 2005-2017 on more than half a million adults in Canada. For the study, people were categorised as food secure, or marginally, moderately or severely food insecure.
By the end of the study period, 25 460 people had died prematurely, with people who were severely food insecure dying nine years younger than their food-secure counterparts (59.5 years old versus 68.9 years).
Several previous studies have pointed at the link between food scarcity and death; however, none of them discussed the causes of death.
The study said food-insecure adults were more likely to die prematurely than their food-secure counterparts, for all causes except cancer
Findings also stated that premature death by infectious-parasitic diseases, unintentional injuries and suicides was more common, almost twice as likely for those experiencing severe versus no food insecurity.
"The significant correlations of all levels of food insecurity with potentially avoidable deaths imply that food-insecure adults benefit less from public health efforts to prevent and treat diseases and injuries than their food-secure counterparts," the researchers said.
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