Food insecurity is associated with higher health care use and costs among canadian adults

Fei Men, Craig Gundersen, Marcelo L. Urquia, Valerie Tarasuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Food insecurity predicts poorer health, yet how it relates to health care use and costs in Canada remains understudied. Linking data from the Canadian Community Health Survey to hospital records and health care expenditure data, we examined the association of food insecurity with acute care hospitalization, same-day surgery, and acute care costs among Canadian adults, adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics. Compared with fully food-secure adults, marginally, moderately, and severely food-insecure adults presented 26 percent, 41 percent, and 69 percent higher odds of acute care admission and 15 percent, 15 percent, and 24 percent higher odds of having same-day surgery, respectively. Conditional on acute care admission, food-insecure adults stayed from 1.48 to 2.08 more days in the hospital and incurred $400–$565 more per person-year in acute care costs than their food-secure counterparts, with this excess cost representing 4.4 percent of total acute care costs. Programs reducing food insecurity, such as child benefits and public pensions, and policies enhancing access to outpatient care may lower health care use and costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1377-1385
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Affairs
Volume39
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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