Nutritional Consequences of Food Insecurity in a Rural New York State County
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AbstractThis study of women with children in a rural county of upstate New York examined the relationships of food insecurity and income with two nutritional consequences (adiposity and fruit and vegetables consumption), and assessed whether disordered eating patterns is a mediator for the effects of food insecurity and income on these nutritional consequences. Each of 193 respondents was interviewed twice in her home. Data were collected on household food stores, socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, methods of obtaining food, food program participation, household expenditures, food intake, the Radimer/Cornell hunger and food insecurity items, height, weight, frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption, and disordered eating patterns. Regression analysis was used to analyze the relationships of body mass index and an obesity classification with height, income, education, single parenthood, employment, food insecurity, disordered eating, and frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption. Regression analysis was also used to examine the relationships of disordered eating and frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption with the other variables. Lower income and unemployment were related to higher adiposity. The effects of income on adiposity were not mediated through disordered eating patterns or through fruit and vegetable consumption. Food insecurity was related to adiposity, and part of this effect of food insecurity was mediated through disordered eating. This mediating effect of disordered eating partially explained why those experiencing the least severe food insecurity were more likely to be overweight than those who were food secure, but those experiencing the most severe food insecurity were less likely to be overweight than those who were food secure. Food insecurity was related to lower fruit and vegetable consumption, but this did not translate into effects on adiposity.