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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #307003

Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Household food insecurity and dietary intake among Mexican-American women participating in federal food assistance programs

Author
item Hilmers, Angela - Johns Hopkins School Of Public Health
item Chen, Tzu - Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Cullen, Karen - Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: American Journal of Health Promotion
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2013
Publication Date: 7/1/2014
Citation: Hilmers, A., Chen, T.A., Cullen, K.W. 2014. Household food insecurity and dietary intake among Mexican-American women participating in federal food assistance programs. American Journal of Health Promotion. 28(6):e146-e154.

Interpretive Summary: Low income Hispanic women are more likely to experience food insecurity. The purpose of this paper was to examine the impact of food insecurity on dietary intake among Mexican-American women. Information on diet and food insecurity was collected on 707 Mexican-American women in three cities in Texas. About 46 percent of the women were food-insecure and within this group, 77 percent participated in federal food assistance programs. There were no significant differences in dietary intake based on food security status. However, the women did not consume nutritionally adequate meals. Educational and food assistance programs need to be optimized to facilitate enrollment and improve the nutritional status of this ethnic group, food secure or not.

Technical Abstract: This study explored the association between food insecurity and dietary intake among Mexican-American women after controlling for sociocultural and economic factors including participation in federal food assistance programs. A cross-sectional design was used. Demographics, anthropometrics, acculturation, and food security status were obtained for 707 Mexican-American women (26-44 years) in three Texas cities using validated measures. Dietary intake was assessed by a 24-hour dietary food record. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between individual and household characteristics on food security status. One-way analysis of covariance tested the association between food security status and dietary intake after adjusting for socio-demographic variables, acculturation, body mass index, participation in federal food assistance programs, and energy intake. About 77% of food-insecure women participated in at least one federal food assistance program. Each additional child in the household increased the odds of being food insecure by 25%. A higher proportion of obese women was found in the food-insecure group. No significant differences in dietary intake were found by food security status. Food insecurity did not negatively influence dietary intake independently of women's participation in federal food assistance programs. Food security did not ensure consumption of nutritionally adequate foods. Educational and food assistance programs need to be optimized to facilitate enrollment and improve the nutritional status of this ethnic group, food secure or not.