No heat, no eat: (Dis)entangling insecurities and their implications for health and well-being

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores the associations between energy poverty, food insecurity, and a set of outcomes—including the self-reported burden of chronic illness, physical disabilities, and mental health—among social-aid recipients across Israel. We highlight the socio-demographic characteristics and housing conditions of energy-poor households and analyze the association between energy poverty and health and well-being using multivariate regression models. Of 1390 aid-recipient respondents, more than 85% met the criteria for living in an energy-poor household, and almost all of them also struggled with food insecurity and were raised in poor households as children. In addition, the severity of energy poverty was positively and significantly associated with the occurrence of diabetes, hypertension, and mental illness, and, as compared with energy-secure households, severely energy-poor households were more prone to forgo acquiring prescription medications, medical aid, or required health treatments due to financial hardships. These findings highlight the nuanced negotiation over necessities that aid-supported households make; despite being at greater risk of being sick, energy-poor households are more likely to forgo buying medicines and seeking healthcare so as to pay the electricity bills. Hidden energy poverty, coupled with what might be hidden morbidity, may have significant implications for healthcare systems, and a climate-sensitive health policy at both the municipal and national levels is required to strengthen resilience among low-income households.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116252
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume336
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Energy poverty
  • Food insecurity
  • Health and well-being
  • Healthcare systems
  • Housing conditions
  • Israel
  • Recipients
  • Social aid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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