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Who is food-insecure in California? Findings from the California Women's Health Survey, 2004

  • Lucia Kaiser (a1), Nikki Baumrind (a2) and Sheila Dumbauld (a3)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980007382542
  • Published online: 01 June 2007
Abstract
AbstractObjective

To identify factors associated with food insecurity in California women.

Design

The California Women's Health Survey is an ongoing annual telephone survey that collects data about health-related attitudes and behaviours from a randomly selected sample of women. Food insecurity of the women was measured by a 6-item subset of the Food Security Module. Statistical procedures included chi-square tests, t-tests, logistic regression analysis and analysis of covariance.

Setting

California, USA.

Subjects

Four thousand and thirty-seven women (18 years or older).

Results

Prevalence of food insecurity was 25.7%. After controlling for income, factors associated with greater food insecurity were Hispanic or Black race/ethnicity; less than a 12th grade education; being unmarried; less than 55 years old; being Spanish-speaking; having spent less than half of one's life in the USA; sadness/depression; feeling overwhelmed; poor physical/mental health interfering with activities; and fair to poor general health. Among Food Stamp Program (FSP) participants, 71% were food-insecure. Among FSP-eligible women who had not applied for the programme, the prevalence of food insecurity was lower among women responding that they did not need food stamps than in women giving other reasons for not applying (23.9% vs. 66.9%, P < 0.001). Factors associated with food insecurity in FSP recipients included being unable to make food stamps last for 30 days, feeling overwhelmed, and having a birthplace in Mexico or Central America.

Conclusions

Along with several socio-economic variables, poor physical and mental health is associated with food insecurity. Whether food insecurity is a cause or effect of poor health remains in question.

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*Corresponding author: Email llkaiser@ucdavis.edu
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2KL Radimer . Measurement of household food insecurity in the USA and other industrialized countries. Public Health Nutrition 2002; 5(6A): 859–64.

5DH Holben , MC McClincy , JP Holcomb Jr, KL Dean , CE Walker . Food security status of households in Appalachian Ohio with children in Head Start. Journal of American Dietetic Association 2004; 104(2): 238–41.

7A Meyers , D Cutts , DA Frank , S Levenson , A Skalicky , T Heeren , . Subsidized housing and children's nutritional status: data from a multisite surveillance study. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 2005; 159(6): 551–6.

8SA Quandt , TA Arcury , J Early , J Tapia , JD Davis . Household food security among migrant and seasonal Latino farmworkers in North Carolina. Public Health Reports 2004; 119(6): 568–75.

12P Casey , S Goolsby , C Berkowitz , D Frank , J Cook , D Cutts , . Maternal depression, changing public assistance, food security, and child health status. Pediatrics 2004; 113(2): 298304.

13CM Heflin , K Siefert , DR Williams . Food insufficiency and women's mental health: findings from a 3-year panel of welfare recipients. Social Science & Medicine 2005; 61(9): 1971–82.

15AM Pheley , DH Holben , AS Graham , C Simpson . Food security and perceptions of health status: a preliminary study in rural Appalachia. Journal of Rural Health 2002; 18(3): 447–54.

19CM Olson . Food insecurity in women. A recipe for unhealthy trade-offs. Topics in Clinical Nutrition 2005; 20(4): 321–8.

23HR Melgar-Quiñonez , AC Martin , D Metz , A Olivares , LL Kaiser . Inseguridad alimentaria en Latinos de California: observaciones de grupos focales. Salud Pública de México 2003; 45(3): 198205.

24PL Geltman , AF Meyers . Immigration legal status and use of public programs and prenatal care. Journal of Immigrant Health 1999; 1(2): 91–7.

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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
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