It’s no secret that food prices are higher than ever in recent months. Now, according to the findings of a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, food insecurity could be another hurdle — not just for supermarket shelves, but for the mental well-being of immigrant communities.
The study found that food insecurity has a greater impact on the mental well-being of immigrant members versus non-immigrant members of the same community. Using data collected by the Gallup World Polls from 2014 to 2019, the researchers compared reported responses from 36,313 immigrants and 705,913 non-immigrants for the categories of Food Insecurity Experience and the Positive and Negative Experience Indexes. The Community Attachment index was also taken into account to create a dimensional picture of the poll-takers’ living environments.
Ultimately, the study found that 38.6% of global immigrants experienced food insecurity between 2014-2019, and of this population, immigrants experienced greater negative impacts on their mental health directly related to food insecurity than non-immigrants. Fostering a sense of community attachment, the study says, is crucial to alleviating the extreme effects of food insecurity on mental well-being.
Even though food insecurity can be a harrowing factor for any community, immigration has been associated with a number of specific impediments to mental health. Per the American Psychiatric Association, immigration-related stressors (including but not limited to low socioeconomic status, housing segregation, religious discrimination, intergenerational conflict, social isolation, frequent moves, and institutional racism) can put immigrants at a higher risk of experiencing mental health issues like depression and anxiety than non-immigrants.
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