Advertisement

Journal of Community Health

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 253–264 | Cite as

Exploring Mediators of Food Insecurity and Obesity: A Review of Recent Literature

  • Brandi Franklin
  • Ashley Jones
  • Dejuan Love
  • Stephane Puckett
  • Justin Macklin
  • Shelley White-Means
Review

Abstract

One in seven American households experience food insecurity at times during the year, lack of money and other resources hinder their ability to maintain consistent access to nutritious foods. Low-income, ethnic minority, and female-headed households exhibit the greatest risk for food insecurity, which often results in higher prevalence of diet-related disease. The food insecurity-obesity paradox is one that researchers have explored to understand the factors that influence food insecurity and its impact on weight change. The aim of this inquiry was to explore new evidence in associations of food insecurity and obesity in youth, adult, and elderly populations. A literature search of publication databases was conducted, using various criteria to identify relevant articles. Among 65 results, 19 studies conducted since 2005 were selected for review. Overall, the review confirmed that food insecurity and obesity continue to be strongly and positively associated in women. Growing evidence of this association was found in adolescents; but among children, results remain mixed. Few studies supported a linear relationship between food insecurity and weight outcomes, as suggested by an earlier review. New mediators were revealed (gender, marital status, stressors, and food stamp participation) that alter the association; in fact, newer studies suggest that food stamp participation may exacerbate obesity outcomes. Continued examination through longitudinal studies, development of tools to distinguish acute and chronic food insecurity, and greater inclusion of food security measurement tools in regional and local studies are warranted.

Keywords

Food insecurity Obesity Children Women Mediators 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was made possible by grant number 1P20MD005118-02 from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) at the National Institutes of Health. We acknowledge the assistance of Teresa Bell and Courtnee Melton, of University of Tennessee Health Science Center, in editing and review of the manuscript.

References

  1. 1.
    Nord, M., Andrews, M. S., & Carlson, S. (2009). Household food security in the United States, 2008. Washington, DC: US Dept. of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Nord, M., Jemison, K., & Bickel, G. W. (1999). Measuring food security in the United States prevalence of food insecurity and hunger, by state, 1996–1998. Washington, D.C.: US Dept. of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Holben, D. H. (2006). Position of the American Dietetic Association: Food insecurity and hunger in the United States. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 106(3), 446–458.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Champagne, C. M., Casey, P. H., Connell, C. L., et al. (2007). Poverty and food intake in rural America: Diet quality is lower in food insecure adults in the Mississippi Delta. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 107(11), 1886–1894.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Drewnowski, A. (2009). Obesity, diets, and social inequalities. Nutrition Review, 67(S1), S36–S39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Feinberg, E., Kavanagh, P. L., Young, R. L., & Prudent, N. (2008). Food insecurity and compensatory feeding practices among urban black families. Pediatrics, 122(4), e854–e860.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Freedman, D. A., & Bell, B. A. (2009). Access to healthful foods among an urban food insecure population: Perceptions versus reality. Journal of Urban Health, 86(6), 825–838.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Larson, N. I., Story, M. T., & Nelson, M. C. (2009). Neighborhood environments: Disparities in access to healthy foods in the US. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36(1), 74–81.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Seligman, H. K., Bindman, A. B., Vittinghoff, E., Kanaya, A. M., & Kushel, M. B. (2007). Food insecurity is associated with diabetes mellitus: Results from the National Health Examination and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999–2002. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 22(7), 1018–1023.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Seligman, H. K., Laraia, B. A., & Kushel, M. B. (2010). Food insecurity is associated with chronic disease among low-income NHANES participants. Journal of Nutrition, 140(2), 304–310.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Tayie, F. A., & Zizza, C. A. (2009). Food insecurity and dyslipidemia among adults in the United States. Preventive Medicine, 48(5), 480–485.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Brown, L. J. (2007). The economic cost of domestic hunger: Estimated annual burden to the United States. Gaithersburg, MD: Sodexho Foundation.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dinour, L. M., Bergen, D., & Yeh, M. C. (2007). The food insecurity-obesity paradox: A review of the literature and the role food stamps may play. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 107(11), 1952–1961.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Casey, P. H., Simpson, P. M., Gossett, J. M., et al. (2006). The association of child and household food insecurity with childhood overweight status. Pediatrics, 118(5), e1406–e1413.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Gundersen, C., Garasky, S., & Lohman, B. J. (2009). Food insecurity is not associated with childhood obesity as assessed using multiple measures of obesity. Journal of Nutrition, 139(6), 1173–1178.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Gundersen, C., Lohman, B. J., Garasky, S., Stewart, S., & Eisenmann, J. (2008). Food security, maternal stressors, and overweight among low-income US children: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999–2002). Pediatrics, 122(3), e529–e540.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Martin, K. S., & Ferris, A. M. (2007). Food insecurity and gender are risk factors for obesity. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 39(1), 31–36.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Metallinos-Katsaras, E., Sherry, B., & Kallio, J. (2009). Food insecurity is associated with overweight in children younger than 5 years of age. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(10), 1790–1794.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Miller, E., Wieneke, K. M., Murphy, J. M., et al. (2008). Child and parental poor health among families at risk for hunger attending a community health center. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 19(2), 550–561.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Gundersen, C., Lohman, B. J., Eisenmann, J. C., Garasky, S., & Stewart, S. D. (2008). Child-specific food insecurity and overweight are not associated in a sample of 10- to 15-year-old low-income youth. Journal of Nutrition, 138(2), 371–378.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lohman, B. J., Stewart, S., Gundersen, C., Garasky, S., & Eisenmann, J. C. (2009). Adolescent overweight and obesity: Links to food insecurity and individual, maternal, and family stressors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45(3), 230–237.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Smith, C., & Richards, R. (2008). Dietary intake, overweight status, and perceptions of food insecurity among homeless Minnesotan youth. American Journal of Human Biology, 20(5), 550–563.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hanson, K. L., Sobal, J., & Frongillo, E. A. (2007). Gender and marital status clarify associations between food insecurity and body weight. Journal of Nutrition, 137(6), 1460–1465.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Holben, D. H., & Pheley, A. M. (2006). Diabetes risk and obesity in food-insecure households in rural Appalachian Ohio. Preventing Chronic Disease, 3(3), A82.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Sullivan, A. F., Clark, S., Pallin, D. J., & Camargo, C. A. (2010). Food security, health, and medication expenditures of emergency department patients. Journal of Emergency Medicine, 38(4), 524–528.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Webb, A. L., Schiff, A., Currivan, D., & Villamor, E. (2008). Food Stamp Program participation but not food insecurity is associated with higher adult BMI in Massachusetts residents living in low-income neighbourhoods. Public Health Nutrition, 11(12), 1248–1255.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Wilde, P. E., & Peterman, J. N. (2006). Individual weight change is associated with household food security status. Journal of Nutrition, 136(5), 1395–1400.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Jones, S. J., & Frongillo, E. A. (2006). The modifying effects of Food Stamp Program participation on the relation between food insecurity and weight change in women. Journal of Nutrition, 136(4), 1091–1094.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Laraia, B. A., Siega-Riz, A. M., & Gundersen, C. (2010). Household food insecurity is associated with self-reported pregravid weight status, gestational weight gain, and pregnancy complications. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 110(5), 692–701.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Olson, C. M., & Strawderman, M. S. (2008). The relationship between food insecurity and obesity in rural childbearing women. Journal of Rural Health, 24(1), 60–66.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Whitaker, R. C., & Sarin, A. (2007). Change in food security status and change in weight are not associated in urban women with preschool children. Journal of Nutrition, 137(9), 2134–2139.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kim, K., & Frongillo, E. A. (2007). Participation in food assistance programs modifies the relation of food insecurity with weight and depression in elders. Journal of Nutrition, 137(4), 1005–1010.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Power, M. L., & Schulkin, J. (2008). Sex differences in fat storage, fat metabolism, and the health risks from obesity: Possible evolutionary origins. British Journal of Nutrition, 99(5), 931–940.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Larson, N. I., & Story, M. T. (2011). Food insecurity and weight status among US children and families: a review of the literature. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 40(2):166–173.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brandi Franklin
    • 1
  • Ashley Jones
    • 1
  • Dejuan Love
    • 1
  • Stephane Puckett
    • 1
  • Justin Macklin
    • 1
  • Shelley White-Means
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Consortium for Health Education, Economic Empowerment and Research (CHEER)MemphisUSA

Personalised recommendations