Global COVID-19 pandemic has not only devastated the immunity of people but also caused a 25% increase in food insufficiency as per a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Food insufficiency is the most extreme form of food insecurity, where families do not have enough food to eat. Among the nationally representative sample of 63,674 adults in the US, Black and Latino Americans had over twice the risk of food insufficiency compared to White Americans.
Food insufficiency and mental health
65% of Americans reported anxiety symptoms and 52% reported depressive symptoms in the survey. Insufficient food intake had worse effect on mental health, with 89% of food-insufficient Americans reporting anxiety symptoms compared to 63% of food-sufficient Americans.
Similarly, 83% of food-insufficient Americans, compared to 49% of food-sufficient, Americans reported depressive symptoms.
Worrying about not getting enough food to eat with hunger itself worsens the depression and anxiety symptoms.
"Policymakers should expand benefits and eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other programs to address both food insecurity and mental health," says Kyle Ganson, PhD, MSW, assistant professor at the University of Toronto, a co-author of the study.