Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 197–204 | Cite as

Food Insufficiency in Urban Latino Families

  • Noel Chávez
  • Sharon Telleen
  • Young Ok Rhee Kim
Original Paper


National level data show food insecurity/insufficiency is more common in Latino families than the dominant population, however local ethnic rates aren’t often available, nor have there been many studies of food insufficiency/insecurity among Latino ethnic groups. This study presents food insufficiency data from three low income immigrant Latino Chicago communities. Data were collected as part of a larger study of ethnic Latino differences in health and nutrition attitudes/behaviors and child health services use. Face to face interviews were conducted with 320 mothers of Latino children entering school for the first time (mean age 5.5 years). Food insufficiency questions from the Radimer/Cornell and NHANES III instruments were used. Participants were 70% Mexican, 22% Puerto Rican and 8% other Latino, reflecting Chicago Latino distribution. Thirty percent (n = 96) reported household food insufficiency, although most was worry about obtaining food, and was due to lack of money or Food Stamps. Some families experienced more severe food access problems, namely adults and children skipping meals, and adults or children going without food for an entire day. Puerto Rican families reported more severe food insufficiency than Mexican families, but there were few other ethnic differences. Only 30% of these low income food insufficient families were Food Stamp participants although 90% of the children received school meals. These data point to the need for better screening and program outreach for low income, immigrant Latino families.


Food security Latinos Immigrants Families Low income Mexican Puerto Rican 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noel Chávez
    • 1
  • Sharon Telleen
    • 2
  • Young Ok Rhee Kim
    • 3
  1. 1.Community Health Sciences Division, School of Public HealthUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Research on Race and Public PolicyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.College of NursingUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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