Household Food Insecurity and the Physical and Mental Health of Low-Income Men and Women

  • Heflin, Colleen (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Despite the strength of the economy in recent years, high rates of food insecurity, food insufficiency, and hunger are a significant problem in the United States (Andrews et aI., 2000). Yet, little is known the physical and mental health consequences of food insecurity. Building on previous work by Siefert et al (2000, 2001, 2002) and Heflin (2001), I propose to use the National Survey of America's Families (NSAF) to model the effect of food insecurity on mental and physical health in order to answer the following questions: 1. Is there a relationship between food insecurity and physical and mental health in a national sample oflow-income households? 2. Is there regional variation in the association between food insecurity and health? Specifically, is food insecurity more highly correlated with health in the South? 3. Are there gender differences in the association between food insecurity and health? This research can inform public policy in several ways. First, by examining correlates of health among a low-income population, this project can confirm earlier research showing an association between food insecurity and health in a sample of women on welfare. Second, this project will contribute to our understanding ofpattems in regional disparities in health and the importance of one possible causal pathway-food insecurity. Finally, this project expands the research focus beyond women by examining the health of lowincome adult men.
Effective start/end date6/1/0312/31/05


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