The COVID-19, Obesity, and Food Insecurity Syndemic

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Current obesity reports




COVID-19; Essential workforce; Food insecurity; Obesity; Sustainable food systems; Syndemic


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To introduce and provide evidence for the new Syndemic of COVID-19, Obesity, and Food Insecurity and propose strategies for mitigating its impact, particularly among vulnerable populations. RECENT FINDINGS: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated obesity, food insecurity, and the existing inequities in the essential workforce. Food insecurity is driven by unsustainable dietary patterns and is associated with higher rates of obesity, which increases the risk of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the essential food supply chain workforce. Strengthening the social safety net and expanding worker protections will increase food security and secure livelihoods during and beyond the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic. Strengthening local and regional food systems provides a common solution to both the new Syndemic of COVID-19, Obesity, and Food Insecurity and the Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change by promoting sustainable food production and consumption, and prioritizing the food supply chain workforce.


Prevention and Community Health