Understanding the potential pathways by which food insecurity and obesity may be associated can help inform intervention strategies. Researchers may consider analysis, framework, and understanding of the relationship between food insecurity and obesity given that a high percentage of the population is overweight or obese.

Bringing together varied academic disciplines such as public health, nutrition, psychology, sociology, and economics, and encouraging research collaborations across organizations can make valuable contributions including expanding methodologies and frameworks used to examine the relationship.


A Life Course Perspective

  • Impacts of food insecurity during critical periods of development such as fetal development and child growth and development, including examining the association and mechanisms of deprivation in childhood and obesity later in life.

  • Whether specific factors are more or less influential on the relationship during different points in infancy and childhood.

  • Other critical periods of development.

  • The relationship in aging/older adults.

Environmental Factors

  • Access to healthful foods including the impact of supermarket access, transportation access, and various sources of foods.

  • Food marketing, including the impact on diet quality.

  • Foods served and consumed in schools and childcare programs, including strategies to design and implement higher nutritional standards and other strategies to improve the quality of foods.

  • Competitive foods, including the impact on healthful choices and participation in free or reduced-price school meals.

Institutional Factors

  • Taxation of less healthful foods.

  • Broader social policies such as agricultural subsidies.

  • Food assistance programs, including the impact of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit distribution on behaviors and benefit modifications to improve choices, free or reduced-priced school meals, and summer meals programs.

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