Hunger Fueling Diabetes Epidemic

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Governor calls for massive cuts to safety-net services despite evidence showing the connection between food insecurity and diabetes

OAKLAND, Calif. — A new report, The Inextricable Connection between Food Insecurity & Diabetes, released today by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), highlights the connection between the millions of Californians struggling to put food on their table and our state’s skyrocketing diabetes rates.

“While the connection between food insecurity and heighten risk for diabetes may be counter-intuitive, the pathway becomes clear when we examine how individual coping mechanisms interact with our food environment,” states Dean Schillinger, MD, Program Chief for the California Diabetes Program. “A dollar will buy you 1200 calories worth of cookies, or 250 calories of carrots. If you are low-income the choice is obvious.”

“If the Governor is serious about fighting state’s obesity and diabetes epidemics, he needs to ensure that all Californians have the resources to put healthy food on their tables,” states Ellen Wu, Executive Director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “The findings of our report show that food insecure individuals are two times more likely to develop diabetes, even after controlling for race and socio-economic status.”

“With California’s food insecurity rate hovering near 3 million, we cannot afford more cuts to our safety net programs,” states Ken Hecht, Executive Director of the California Food Policy Advocates. “CalWorks, SSI, and food assistance programs are families only protection against hunger.”