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AHA: Women With Disabilities Have Poorer Diets, Face Food Insecurity

Findings seen among women of reproductive age with self-reported disability

THURSDAY, Nov. 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Women of reproductive age with disabilities report lower diet quality, food security, and physical activity, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2021, held virtually from Nov. 13 to 15.

Jacqueline Litvak, from New York University in New York City, and colleagues used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2013 to 2018) to examine diet quality, physical activity, and related lifestyle factors among 3,409 women of reproductive age by disability status.

The researchers found that compared with women with no disabilities, women with any self-reported disabilities had lower Healthy Eating Index 2015 scores, were more likely to report low/very low food security, and were less likely to report meeting physical activity recommendations of ≥150 minutes/week of moderate/vigorous activities. In an analysis by disability type, women with self-reported vision difficulty consumed more fast-food meals in one week versus women with no disabilities.

“Women with disabilities may face specific obstacles in improving their diet due to barriers related to their disabilities, including medical conditions or physical limitations, as well as the availability of food,” a coauthor said in a statement. “It is important that health care professionals are aware and knowledgeable of these obstacles and make efforts to help women address and overcome them.”

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