Many healthcare workers experience social determinants of health, with new data published in Health Affairs particularly outlining disparities in food insecurity between healthcare support staff and clinical staff.
Although food insecurity is lower among the total healthcare worker population than the rest of the United States, healthcare support staff are significantly more likely to experience food insecurity than doctors or nurses, the data emailed to PatientEngagementHIT showed.
Additionally, healthcare support staff working in residential or nursing home settings are extremely likely to experience food insecurity.
Food insecurity is a key social determinant of health that has gained significant attention in recent years. In addition to the intrinsic impacts food has on health, those experiencing food insecurity may have trouble managing their chronic illnesses because they cannot follow a specific diet. Individuals also may increase their risk for developing a chronic illness, like diabetes, without a regular source of nutritious foods.
“In many respects, the characteristics of low-wage health care workers resemble those of the populations at greatest risk for food insecurity,” the researchers said.