Rx Nutrition Resource Center

Rx Nutrition Resource Center

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
January 15, 2021
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Women in the US at higher risk for food insecurity

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Women in the United States were more likely to have food insecurity than men, according to study results.

Christopher Ma, MD, MPH, from the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Calgary, and colleagues wrote that food insecurity can not only be more detrimental to women in their personal lives, but also their health.

“Addressing food insecurity is highly relevant for gastroenterologists because dietary intake is directly associated with nutritional health,” they wrote. “A detailed dietary assessment, including evaluation of potential food insecurity and its root causes, is an important although frequently overlooked component of a comprehensive gastroenterology consultation.”

Researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to evaluate the effects of sex on food insecurity and dietary intake in the U.S. The survey comprised 30,251 individuals, of whom, 15.1% were food insecure. The percentage of individuals who were food insecure increased from 11.7% in 2007-2008 to 18.2% in 2015-2016.

Investigators found that a higher proportion of women experienced food insecurity compared with men (53.3% vs. 46.7%; P = .02). However, the difference was not significant after adjusting for poverty and other factors (adjusted OR = 1.01; 95% CI, 0.93-1.09).

Among women who experienced food insecurity 32.4% received emergency food assistance and 75% received supplemental nutrition assistance benefits.

Compared with men, women who experienced food insecurity were less likely to meet nutritional recommendations and were more likely to have obesity, a wider waist circumference and a higher total body fat percentage (all P < .001).

“On a population level, innovative interventions that address the underlying risk factors for food insecurity and counteract the resultant consequences are required,” Ma and colleagues wrote. “We anticipate that the face of food insecurity in the United States will drastically change because of dynamic pressures from unprecedented forces such as the coronavirus pandemic. In this context, diligent monitoring and support of vulnerable populations will be vital.”