Epidemiology of Food Insecurity in a Nationally Representative Sample of Lymphoma Patients


Background: In 2020, the United States had approximately 85,000 new diagnoses of Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Food insecurity is both a direct and indirect detriment to health outcomes. The rate and risk factors for food insecurity among lymphoma patients are unknown, as the unemployment rate soars far above pre-COVID19 pandemic levels further heightening the economic stresses of a lymphoma diagnosis.

Methods: Data regarding the food security status were obtained from the cross-sectional National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A raw score compiled from a series of 10 food security questions was used to determine the Food Secure and Food Insecure groups. Respondents who reported a history of lymphoma from 2011 to 2019 were included in the analysis.

Results: Of the 921 patients reporting a history of lymphoma 9.06% were considered Food Insecure. The sociodemographic subgroups with the highest risk of being Food Insecure included respondents living below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level, non-US citizens, the uninsured, and those on Medicare.

Conclusion: Food insecurity is common among lymphoma patients. Therefore, oncologists across the country should be aware of the sociodemographic risk factors for food insecurity in order to assist in mediation, maximizing the efficacy of treatments. Research regarding the impact of food insecurity on therapy compliance and patient outcomes is warranted in future studies.