The food-insecurity obesity paradox: A resource scarcity hypothesis

Emily J. Dhurandhar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Food insecurity is paradoxically associated with obesity in the United States. Current hypotheses to explain this phenomenon are descriptive regarding the low food security population's dietary and physical activity habits, but are not mechanistic. Herein it is proposed that a resource scarcity hypothesis may explain this paradox, such that fattening is a physiologically regulated response to threatened food supply that occurs specifically in low social status individuals. Evidence that this may be occurring, the implications for addressing the food insecurity-obesity paradox, and future areas of research, are reviewed and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-92
Number of pages5
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
StatePublished - 2016


  • Energy balance
  • Food insecurity
  • Obesity
  • Poverty
  • Socio-economic status


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