According to a new study from the NYU School of Global Public Health, women with special needs are nearly twice as likely to feel hungry and think their diet is subpar.
The results were reported in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The capacity to hear, see, think clearly, move about freely, or take care of oneself is impaired in at least one way for one in five American women between the ages of 18 and 44. Researchers have paid less attention to the diets of women with disabilities, though.
“A healthy diet is essential for avoiding many chronic diseases. A nutritious diet can also help pregnant and postpartum outcomes for women of reproductive age, according to study author and associate professor of public health nutrition at NYU School of Global Public Health Andrea Deierlein. Women with disabilities may encounter challenges because of their medical issues or physical limits if they don’t have access to healthy foods or the means to prepare them.
The researchers examined information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys’ 2013-2018 waves to gain a better understanding of the diets of women with impairments (CDC). 3,579 women between the ages of 18 and 44 were questioned about their daily dietary intake, which was used to determine their diet quality ratings, as well as other diet-related issues such as food security and involvement in food assistance programmes.
Women were also asked if they had a handicap, which was described as having extreme trouble with one or more of the following: hearing, seeing, focusing, walking, dressing, and/or doing errands. A disability was reported by 16% of respondents, and 6% said they had two or more different disabilities.
Except that women with two or more types of disabilities had slightly lower diet quality scores in relation to their consumption of fruit and protein-rich foods like meat, nuts, and seafood, there were few differences in the diet quality scores of women by their disability status.
Women with disabilities were more likely than women without disabilities to describe their diet as poor and to say that they had little to no access to food. Additionally, they were more likely to use food assistance programmes and consume frozen goods.
Diet of women
Additionally, it was less common for women with disabilities to be the primary cook, meal planner, and grocery shopper in their homes.
The researchers point out that additional study is necessary to pinpoint possible intervention areas among all persons with impairments. There is a need for study that specifically looks at how socioeconomic determinants of health including housing circumstances, social support, and the food environment in one’s neighbourhood impact food preparation and storage.
The goal of developing tailored nutrition programmes and policies, according to Deierlein, is to reduce health disparities. “Learning more about the diets of women with disabilities will help us better to assess this population’s diet quality and nutrient intake, identify barriers to improving diet, and develop tailored nutrition programmes and policies,” she said.