According to research, women with disabilities are more prone to eat poorly

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According to a recent 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 around independently, 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 nutritious diet is necessary to ward off many chronic illnesses. According to Andrea Deierlein, author of the study and associate professor of public health nutrition at NYU School of Global Public Health, a nutritious diet can also improve pregnancy and postpartum outcomes for women of reproductive age. Due to their health conditions or physical limitations, women with disabilities may experience difficulties if they lack access to appropriate foods or the tools necessary to prepare them.

To learn more about the diets of women with impairments, researchers looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys’ 2013–2018 waves from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 3,579 women between the ages of 18 and 44 were asked questions on their daily dietary intake, which was used to calculate their ratings of the quality of their diets, as well as other diet-related issues such food security and participation in food assistance programmes.

A handicap was defined as having extreme difficulty with one or more of the following: walking, clothing, hearing, seeing, focusing, or performing errands. Women were also asked if they had a disability. 16% of respondents claimed they had a disability, while 6% said they had two or more separate disabilities.

There were few differences in the diet quality scores of women according to their disability status, with the exception of the fact 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.

Women with disabilities were more likely than women without impairments to report having little or no access to food and a poor diet. They also had a higher tendency to use food assistance programmes and eat frozen foods.

Women with impairments were also less likely to be the head cook, food planner, or grocery shopper in their households.

The researchers point out that more study is necessary to pinpoint possible intervention areas among all people with disabilities. There is a need for study that specifically looks at how socioeconomic determinants of health like housing circumstances, social support, and the food environment in one’s neighbourhood affect food preparation and storage.

According to Deierlein, reducing health inequities is the purpose of creating specialised nutrition programmes and policies. “Knowing more about the dietary habits of women with disabilities can help us better assess this population’s dietary quality and nutrient intake, identify obstacles to altering dietary habits, and establish personalised nutrition programmes and policies,” the author added.