Teen Food Insecurity

The Lempert Report
May 31, 2023

Food insecurity in the US is on the rise, and especially as it relates to teens. This is a study that was just published last Wednesday and they followed 1,500 adolescents from the Family Life Activity, sun Health and Eating study that was collected by the National Cancer Institute. And some interesting cause and effect here, because what they're saying is that if you're food insecure as a teenager, it adds to your stress level and the stress level adds to more food insecurity, so it's like a no-win.

Sally:  Yes, Phil, there are nine million children in the US living in food insecure households. I think about when I was a kid and I had four children in my family and we would all sit around the table and my mom would put the food on the table. There was this tendency to want to eat as quickly as you could because you knew that the food was going to run out and you wanted to be able to get seconds before it was gone. So you know, i did not grow up in a food insecure household the way we are talking about these children, but when we think about that tendency to want to fill up quickly when food is presented in front of you can present lifelong challenges. Even when they become adults and can afford to buy food, those eating patterns stick with them.

Phil: They do. And you know, what's really important is that people are really paying attention, having mindful eating, if you would, whether it's around the dinner table, whether it's going out to eat, and really connecting the whole mind-body connection when we eat, because without that there's serious consequences, as you point out, sally, for the rest of people's lives.