Young Adults Who Were at Risk of Food Insecurity Had Increased Risk of Diabetes Later in Life

Nearly one in five young adults in the United States has food insecurity, and a new study suggests that this may increase their risk of developing diabetes. The research, which scientists at the Washington State University conducted, found that food-insecure young adults were twice as likely to develop diabetes as those who had no trouble accessing food. The findings underscore the importance of ensuring that all young people have access to affordable and healthy food.

Previous studies have found an association between food insecurity and various health issues, including diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. However, this is the first study to show a connection over time, suggesting a causal relationship.


For the study, researchers analyzed data from nearly 4,000 people from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. They found that adults aged 24 – 32 who said they had been worried about food shortages over the past year had a greater incidence of diabetes. This was proven through blood glucose tests or self-reports and was compared to those who did not report any food insecurity risk. 

“When we look at the data 10 years later, we see this separation in the prevalence of diabetes: those who experienced risk of food insecurity at young adulthood are more likely to have diabetes in middle adulthood,” said Cassandra Nguyen, the study’s lead author.

The study was unable to determine the cause of the relationship. Still, previous research has shown that adults who live in households with food insecurities often have diets with lower nutritional values.

Researchers believe that young adults experiencing food insecurity can also get caught in a negative reinforcing cycle. This occurs when food insecurity is associated with a diet that contributes to disease risk. This creates additional health care expenses and stresses a household’s budget, reinforcing food insecurity.


Even without the added stress of food insecurity, diabetes is a growing concern. 37.3 million people in the United States have diabetes, and the numbers continue to rise each year. This research shows the need to ensure that young adults experiencing food insecurity are identified and shown resources to help them break the cycle.

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Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.


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