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Associations between socioeconomic position, food insecurity and BMI

By Rebecca Ramsey and Katrina Giskes


Introduction: Food insecurity is a social determinant of health and is defined as limited ability to access sufficient amounts of nutritionally adequate or safe food for a healthy and active life. Food insecurity is associated with poor health status and the exacerbation of other health inequalities. This study examined whether an association existed between 1) socioeconomic position (SEP) and food insecurity and 2) food insecurity and weight status.\ud \ud Methods: Data from the 1995 National Nutrition Survey was analysed. A random sample of households (n = 13 858) were asked about dietary habits and food choices. Information about gender, age, BMI, waist circumference, household income and whether the household had run out of money to purchase food in the previous 12 months was obtained and analysed using chi-square and logistic regression.\ud \ud Results: Income was significantly associated with food insecurity; households with lower income were at higher risk of food insecurity. Lower income males were nine times more likely to experience food insecurity and lower income females were three times more likely to experience food insecurity than their higher income counterparts. Food insecurity was significantly associated with body mass index (BMI) among women but not men. Women experiencing food insecurity were at higher risk of overweight/obesity according to BMI and waist circumference measures.\ud \ud Conclusion: Evidence suggests that low income households are at higher risk of food insecurity and women who are food insecure are at higher risk of being overweight or obese. Food insecurity may mediate the association between SEP and BMI.\u

Topics: 111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified, 111706 Epidemiology, Food security, Food insecurity, Socioeconomic inequalities, Weight status, Obesity
Year: 2008
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