American and Ugandan researchers recently published a study in Public Health Nutrition showing a connection between food insecurity and depression.
Food security, according to a 1996 World Food Summit report, is “when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. Food insecurity, then, is when there is inconsistency in who has access(and when) to such food.
The researchers studied the food security and depression symptom severity of nearly 1,700 participants from 8 rural villages in southwestern Uganda.
What they discovered was that those with severe food security (unreliable access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food) also had greater severity in their depression symptoms. They also noticed that men with poor contacts in their personal social networks had stronger depression symptoms.
Nutritious food plays such a critical role in our mental health. We, as a society, need to do more to ensure that everyone has access to healthy, nutritious food.