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March 3, 2014

“Milk or Med" - New Study Examines Medication Underuse and Food Insecurity

For those living with a chronic illness, proper nutrition can minimize the side effects of medication and treatment, as well as symptoms associated with opportunistic infections. Consistent access to good food plays a powerful role in preventing, treating and surviving serious health conditions. Unfortunately, many people facing these illnesses do not have the resources to afford both food and medicine.

Nearly 70% of Food & Friends clients live
below the poverty level.
A recent Reuters Health article summarizes an American Journal of Medicine study that examined the relationship between cost-related medication underuse and food insecurity. The study found that one in three Americans with chronic disease has difficulty paying for medicine, food or both.

With 70% of our clients living below the poverty line, this study sheds light on the impact of our services not only as they pertain to the health of our clients but on our clients’ financial situations. Check out a sample from the article below.

Many chronically ill Americans unable to afford food, medicine

NEW YORK Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:02am EST


(Reuters Health) - One in three Americans with a chronic disease such as diabetes, arthritis or high blood pressure has difficulty paying for food, medications or both, according to a new study.
People who had trouble affording food were four times more likely to skip some of their medications due to cost than those who got plenty to eat, researchers found.
"This leads to an obvious tension between 'milk' or 'med,'" said Dr. Niteesh Choudhry, who worked on the study at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "If you have a fixed income, should you treat or should you eat?"
The findings are based on data collected by the 2011 National Health Interview Survey, a questionnaire that offers a snapshot of the U.S. population as a whole. Nearly 10,000 people age 20 and up filled out the survey and reported having one or more chronic illnesses like cancer, asthma, emphysema or a psychiatric illness.
Among those participants, 23 percent took their medication less often than prescribed because of the cost, 19 percent reported difficulty affording food and 11 percent said they were having trouble paying for both food and medications. In the end, about one in three had trouble affording food, medication or both.

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