The food insecurity-obesity paradox: a review of the literature and the role food stamps may play

J Am Diet Assoc. 2007 Nov;107(11):1952-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2007.08.006.


During the past decade, rates of food insecurity and obesity have risen, and an association has been made between these two seemingly paradoxical states. Although this relationship has not been repeatedly seen in men, research suggests a correlation in women. Studies have not been able to consistently show a relationship in children, because findings differ based on age, race/ethnicity, household income, and sex. Several proposed hypotheses explain why a correlation between food insecurity and obesity exists in adults - especially women - but not in children. This review proposes a conceptual framework linking the Food Stamp Program and other coping strategies to the food insecurity-obesity relationship. This link has implications for Food Stamp Program policy changes, welfare reform, and poverty prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet / standards*
  • Female
  • Food Services* / statistics & numerical data
  • Food Supply / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Hunger*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Poverty*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors