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Food Insecurity, Poor Access, and Glycemic Control

Diabetes Care; ePub 2018 Mar 19; Berkowitz, et al

Food insecurity is associated with higher HbA1c, but living in an area with low physical food access is not, a recent study found. Therefore, food insecurity screening and interventions may help improve glycemic control for vulnerable patients. In a prospective cohort study, a random sample of patients with diabetes in a primary care network completed food insecurity assessment in 2013. Low physical food access at the census tract level was defined as no supermarket within 1 mile in urban areas and 10 miles in rural areas. HbA1c measurements were obtained from electronic health records through November 2016. 391 participants were followed for a mean of 37 months. Researchers found:

  • 20% of respondents reported food insecurity, and 31% resided in an area of low physical food access.
  • In adjusted models, food insecurity was associated with higher HbA1c (difference of 0.6%), which did not improve over time.
  • Living in an area with low physical food access was not associated with a difference in HbA1c (difference 0.2%) or with change over time.

Citation:

Berkowitz SA, Karter AJ, Corbie-Smith G, et al. Food insecurity, food “deserts,” and glycemic control in patients with diabetes: A longitudinal analysis. [Published online ahead of print March 19, 2018]. Diabetes Care. doi:10.2337/dc17-1981.

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