Association of Food Security with Home Food Availability in the United States: Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

Jennifer McAtee, Christian King, Weiwen Chai

Jennifer McAtee
Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences; University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Christian King
Department of Health Management and Informatics; University of Central Florida

Weiwen Chai
Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences; University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Email: wchai2@unl.edu
Online First: April 15, 2019 | Cite this Article
McAtee, J., King, C., Chai, W. 2019. Association of Food Security with Home Food Availability in the United States: Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Diabesity 5(2). DOI:10.15562/diabesity.2019.56

Objective: The present study examined the association of food security status with the availability of healthy and unhealthy foods in the home using a nationally representative sample from 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES).

Design: A cross-sectional analysis included 8997 participants aged 20-65 years. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CIs) were estimated by logistic regression accounting for survey design and weights.Food availability was measured through self-reported questionnaire regarding the frequency of food items available in the home. Three levels of food security (food insecure, marginally food insecure, and food secure) were defined based on 10 food security questions.

Results: Individuals who were food insecure had lower availabilities of fruits (OR=0.37; 95%CI=0.27-0.49), dark green vegetables (OR=0.63; 95%CI=0.50-0.79), fat-free or low-fat milk (OR=0.60; 95%CI=0.45-0.81), and salty snacks (OR=0.66; 95%CI=0.51-0.85) relative to those who were food secure. Similar results were found for participants with marginal food insecurity compared to food secure participants.

Conclusions: With the exception of salty snacks, food insecurity was associated with lower availability of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, fat-free/low fat milk, suggesting the need to improve the home food environment among individuals who are food insecure.


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