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Health outcomes and disparities have continuously proven to be determined
mainly by the economic, social and physical conditions of an individual. Food insecurity
occurs when communities lack access to adequate food due to limited resources or lack of
money. The increasing lifestyle level coupled with a stagnant pay system that fails to
justify for tax increment, housing, cost of food, medical cover, and other social
requirements has meant that the spending capacity on food has reduced significantly.
This paper discusses the relationship between food insecurity and health outcomes as
well as explores lifestyles changes that have had a negative impact on the health of low
income families, by affecting those food choices that people tend to make to make ends
The selection criteria of articles for literature research must fulfill the researchâ??s
topic statement by identifying the main words defining the research. In this case, the topic
sentence â??the impacts of food insecurity on the health of low income families,â? identifies
the terms â??food insecurity,â? â??health,â? and â??low income familiesâ? as the main words to be
used for research. A use of these words in a database to identify any literature addressing
issues pertaining to these three terms narrows down the search to a few thousands works.
A sampling is done of those literature works that combined the three terms together to
address food insecurity as a component of health among low income earners. This
narrows the search to a few hundreds. Finally, the researcher then goes through the
material one by one to identify those materials that are more relevant to the topic.
Literature Review
There is a distinction between food insecurity and hunger. Most people assume that when
the term â??food insecurityâ? is mentioned, it refers to a state of lacking food to eat.
Understanding food insecurity is about understanding those factors that hinder or prevent
people from accessing food when they want to. As long as one cannot afford to access a
fully balanced meal means that they are insecure and in danger of suffering from a food
related ailment. Food insecurity also means that the available food products do not
provide for the needed nutrient requirements (Hoddinot, 1999).
Relationship between low income and health
Studies have shown that poor health is one of the primary problems associated
with low income. According to Michael et al., (2000), there exists a correlation between
income and health status and in most cases poverty results in poor health. On the other
hand, poor health can also lead to low income because individuals remain unable to work
and families also spend more money on the health of their loved ones. The measure of
income change indicates that individuals whose income reduces over time experience
poor health outcomes than families whose income increases or remain stable. Persistent
poverty often damages health more than occasional poverty (WHO, 2013). The
correlation gets explored during the lifespan of individuals from childhood to adulthood
to determine how low income has affected their health over time. Michael et al., (2000)
highlights that individuals who have experienced persistent poverty from their childhood
experience poor health than those who experience poverty occasionally due to socioeconomic dynamics. Therefore, there exists a strong correlation between income and
health, which indicate that both can affect each other.
Affordability of food products has become extremely challenging for households
living in urban areas. The rising cost of living coupled with a stagnant pay system has
meant that households are spending more on social amenities than they are on food. This
has meant that families can no longer be able to afford nutritious food products that
previously were available. As a result, households are forced to live on a specific diet that
does not supply them with the required bodily supplements. It has also meant that
families have to work long hours to meet the family daily requirement (Moser, 1998). As
a result, households are spending more hours away from their homesteads as they work to
make ends meet. The government, on the other hand, is not relenting on its taxation on
the poor households. The tax burden is mostly borne by the poor who are continually
taxed on items that they have no direct access to. This has marginalized the low-income
earners to a lifestyle of negative fortitude. As a result, households are forced to sacrifice
their daily portion of the income on food in paying for these amenities. These households
have been forced to adopt different eating lifestyles to sustain themselves since they
cannot afford what is expected of them. It has also meant that these households are
denied an opportunity to eat healthily. As a result, the whole household is in danger
Nutritious Meals Accessibility
Low-income earners have a limited spending power that only accords them the
ability to purchase what they can afford. This means that their food choices are limited to
a certain extent and can only access certain types of food. When food choices are limited,
the meals these households can cook, especially if they are in urban areas is nutritiously
limited. Urban settings are much more demanding as compared to rural settings. Rural
settings allow the low-income earners to seek natural means of food in the form of wild
foods. In urban settings, that option is removed, and the dwellers have to go into their
pockets and purchase these food products. It becomes difficult if one does not have the
money to purchase those food products that are nutritious and health-giving such as meat
or fruits (Prendiville, 2003). Lack of a nutritious meal endangers the household into
developing food-related complications. Every human being requires a nutritious meal that
provides all the needed nutrients to ensure growth and development. When nutritious
meals are not provided, the development of the children may inhibit especially if they are
of a tender age. If the mother is nursing, she may lack the milk to feed her baby, leading
to the development of complications in the baby. The rest of the household will suffer
food-related challenges due to lack of nutritious meals (Kherallah et al, 2002).
The impacts of food insecurity on the health of the children
When a household cannot afford to access all the right kind of food stuff needed,
it is in danger of developing health complication. The most vulnerable persons in such a
household are the children. Studies show that the disadvantaged socioeconomic
conditions during childhood cause biological changes that result in poor health (Michael
et al., 2000). These circumstances are determined by the living standard, family
composition, and the income potential. Children who grow up under these circumstances
remain vulnerable to developing ill-health in adulthood. Phipps (2003), notes that there is
a consensus in the studies that there is a large association between long-term measures of
family socioeconomic status and the health of the children. It also affects their social
pathway because such conditions where the basic need of food cannot be provided results
in poor education, which, in turn, leaves the children with little knowledge of how to
control or prevent diseases. According to WHO (2013), women and children also remain
vulnerable especially during the pregnancy period, gestation, and infancy as they need a
good diet which explains their increased mortality in low-income families. Therefore, the
previous research has indicated that children significantly get affected by the issue of
food insecurity.
Based on the relationship between low income and health, there is a positive
reverse correlation with low income being responsible for poor health while the former
also resulted in the latter. It also indicated that those who dwelled in persistent poverty
experienced poor health than those who experienced occasional poverty. Moreover, the
assessment of the impacts of food insecurity on the health of the children indicates that
children from low-income families with adverse food insecurity experienced poor health
and remained vulnerable to ill health even in adulthood.
I volunteered to work at Tri-City Volunteers food bank in order to assist in sorting
and distributing nutritious foods to low income residents living in Alameda county. For
such residents, they struggle to fulfill their everyday obligations while at the same time
make enough money to guarantee the household availability of food. Income distribution
and health remain significantly related to low income resulting in poor health while high
income leads to good health. It is because families with low income have limited
resources with diverse needs that result in strain on resources. These families cannot
satisfactorily meet this basic need in the required quantity and quality. The resultant is
malnutrition and hunger that result in diverse health problems in these individuals.
Notably, poor health also results in reduced capacity to work and perform other activities,
which, in turn, causes a reduction in income. The growth and development of children get
affected because they do not get the balanced diet that contains the nutrients necessary for
growth and survival. Food insecurity affects both the physical and emotional
development in children because it influences behaviors. It explains why there is
increased mortality in children and other vulnerable groups within the community. Food
insecurity has led to low living standards, poor sanitation, and homelessness in the
community that impacts the health status and lead to high mortality. Therefore, the results
indicate that food insecurity has a negative impact on the health of low-income families.
Food insecurity has been detrimental to the overall health status of people both
directly and indirectly. As a result of food insecurity, the world health status has
continually been diminishing as household try to figure the most appropriate ways to
address their food situation. Food insecurity affects the growth and development of
children, which results in ill health extending to adulthood. The whole community
including adults also experience the effects and hence food insecurity result in ill health
in low-income families. It is essential that the government can understand, that it can only
address the issue of food insecurity by understanding the real causal agents and
addressing them. The society is also encouraged to take part in volunteering activities in
organizations like the Tri-City Volunteers Food Bank to eliminate hunger and promote
financial self-sufficiency.
Hoddinot, J. (1999). Operationalizing household food insecurity in development projects:
an introduction. Training materials: food security. Technical review no. 1.
Washington DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.
Kherallah, M., Delgado, C.L., Gabre-Madhin, E.Z., Minot, N., & Johnson, M. (2002).
Reforming Agricultural Markets in Africa. IFPRI. The Johns Hopkins. Food
policy statements.
Michael, B., Taylor, J. & Judge, K. (2000). Evidence on The Relationship Between Low
Income and Poor Health: Is the Government Doing Enough? Fiscal Studies,
21(3), 375-399.
Moser, C (1998). The asset vulnerability framework: reassessing urban poverty reduction
strategies. World Development 26: 1-19.
Phipps, S. (2003). The Impact of Poverty on Health: A Scan of Research Literature.
Canadian Institute for Health Information, 6, 4-39.
Prendiville, N. (2003). Nutrition and food security information systems in crisis-prone
countries. Paper presented at the FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations] International Workshop on Food Security in Complex
Emergencies, 23â??25 September 2003 Retrieved from:
WHO & OECD (2013). Poverty and Health: World Health Organization and The
Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development. DAC Guidelines and
Reference Series, 11, 11-90.
Please make sure to follow APA format with respect to title page, running head,
header placement and page numbers.
2. Abstract and Table of Contents are missing; they should be on separate pages.
3. The Introduction should provide the background information (and significance)
necessary to understand why this paper is important. The evidence should be cited
appropriately. This section should end with a specific thesis that will be addressed.
4. The Methods section is on the right track but uses terminology that is not relevant or
appropriate in certain areas. It should focus on the specific process you employed to
arrive at your final list of articles included in this review.
5. The Results section should summarize your findings from the review (these should
not be two separate sections); this section should have findings categorized by at least
three major subheadings that address the original thesis. These should be cited
6. The Discussion is a good start in that you introduce your internship appropriately,
but those experiences should be placed in context of what you found in your review of
the relevant literature.
7. The Conclusion section should briefly identify how specific stakeholders may benefit
and/or apply these results.
8. Reference list needs to be formatted correctly and should have a header stating
“Reference List”.

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