Title

Hypertension and Food Insecurity in Cottage Gardens Community

Student Classification

Senior

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Kelsie Bernot

Department

Biology

Document Type

Poster

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Abstract

There are often no obvious symptoms before hypertension does significant damage to one’s arteries, eyes, kidneys, and heart, making it a dangerous chronic condition. Hypertension is defined as systolic blood pressure 140 mmHg, and/or diastolic blood pressure greater than 90 mmHg. This condition is highly prevalent in the United States, and it continues to increase over time; contributing factors may include lack of healthcare, stress and food insecurity. Food insecurity is the inaccessibility of nutritionally adequate foods owing to financial or other resource limitations. The relationship between hypertension and food insecurity in the Cottage Gardens community was investigated through a needs assessment survey given at community events in spring 2019. Of the 36 respondents 59.5 % indicated that someone in their household was living with hypertension, and 51.4% indicated that in the past year they had run out of food before they got money to purchase more. Chi-square analysis demonstrated that there was no significant relationship between the two findings; however the high prevalence of both issues, hypertension and food insecurity in this community is a concern. To get ideas on how to address food insecurity in this community respondents were also asked in the survey close ended questions on what foods they want access to. Community members expressed interest in eating and having access to more healthy and nutritional foods. Eating healthy foods like fresh vegetables and fruit instead of processed high sodium content foods can lower one’s risk for developing hypertension. Thus, this research demonstrates a potential intervention point. If we could provide better access to fruits and vegetables, perhaps we could reduce food insecurity in this community.

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