Food insecurity, the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, may be associated with disordered eating and a poor diet. It potentially increases the risk for obesity and health problems.
In this study, researchers from the United States investigated patterns of food insecurity in California women. The team also evaluated the relationship between food insecurity and obesity (body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2) using data from the 1998 and 1999 California Women’s Health Survey.
The research team interviewed 8169 randomly selected women aged over 18 years.
|19% of the study population was obese.|
|Journal of Nutrition|
Food insecurity was evaluated by use of 4 questions adapted from the US Household Food Security Module.
The team used logistic regression to examine the relationship between food insecurity and obesity. They controlled for income, race/ethnicity, education, country of birth, general health status and walking.
The researchers found that food insecurity without hunger affected 14% of the population and food insecurity with hunger 4%.
In addition, 19% of the study population was obese.
The team determined that obesity was more prevalent in food insecure (31%) than in food secure women (16%).
Food insecurity without hunger was associated with increased risk of obesity in whites (odds ratio (OR) 1.36) and others (OR 1.47).
However, food insecurity with hunger was associated with increased risk of obesity for Asians, Blacks and Hispanics (OR 2.81), but not for non-Hispanic Whites (OR 0.82).
Dr Elizabeth Adams’s team concluded, “Food insecurity is associated with increased likelihood of obesity and risk is greatest in nonwhites”.