High inflation rates have forced almost a fifth of the U.S. population to limit their food purchases, and meal intake, according to a new survey from the Nationwide Retirement Institute.
In the past 12 months, 40 percent of American households received food from a food bank, while 40 percent stopped buying healthier foods, states a news release on Oct. 25. While 18 percent of Americans did not buy groceries or chose to skip meals due to high inflation, this number rose to 23 percent among millennials and 28 percent among Gen Z.
Due to rising food insecurity, 14 percent of Americans have canceled or postponed plans to see a health specialist. Further, 10 percent avoided taking prescribed medication and 11 percent chose not to get an annual physical.
High inflation also has forced 17 percent of Gen Z and 19 percent of millennials to postpone plans to see a mental health professional.
Among the respondents, 10 percent have cut down their retirement plan contributions in order to pay for health care expenses. While 14 percent of adults are considering lowering their contributions this year, 20 percent of millennials and 21 percent of Gen Z are also thinking the same.
To save more money, 14 percent of Americans are considering downgrading health insurance, which goes up to 20 percent among millennials and 23 percent among Gen Z.
“While these decisions are understandable and challenging, making short-term trade-offs may have long-term impacts. Neglecting your health now can lead to far bigger costs as you age and approach retirement,” said Kristi Rodriguez, senior vice president of the Nationwide Retirement Institute, in the release.
“This is such a critical time to consult with a financial professional to create a plan that prioritizes your health care needs now and in retirement.”
Compromising Health, Financial Struggle
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Oct. 18 stated that more than a million American adults with diabetes may have had to skip or ration doses of insulin in the past year due to rising inflation.
The most common form of rationing among those with Type 1 diabetes was found to be taking less insulin than what they needed. Overall, delaying the purchase of insulin was the most common response. Plus, younger adults were more likely to ration insulin than individuals older than 65.
“We need urgently policy change to ensure that everyone has access to this critical medication without cost barriers,” Dr. Adam Gaffney, the lead author of the study, told CNN. “And we need to do that today.”
As of Sept. 23, more than 60 percent of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck, according to a survey by LendingClub. Among such people, 49 percent have changed their shopping preferences, 55 percent limited their spending capacity, and 66 percent reduced their spending as a way to cope with inflation.
Since the beginning of 2022, the rate of 12-month food inflation has consistently remained at or above 7 percent for every month. It was recorded at 11.2 percent in September. In January 2021, when Joe Biden assumed the presidency, annual food inflation was only 3.8 percent.