Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 157–169 | Cite as

The Household Food Insecurity and Health Outcomes of U.S.–Mexico Border Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers

  • M. Margaret Weigel
  • Rodrigo X. Armijos
  • Yolanda Posada Hall
  • Yolanda Ramirez
  • Rubi Orozco
Original Paper


Emerging evidence suggests chronic household food insecurity has an adverse effect on health. This study examined the prevalence, predictors and health outcomes associated with food insecurity in 100 migrant and seasonal farmworker (MSFW) households living on the U.S.–Mexico border. Data were collected using the U.S. Food Security Scale, California Agricultural Worker’s Health Survey, and objective anthropometric, clinical and biochemical indicators. Food insecurity affected 82% of households; 49% also had hunger. Household food insecurity was predicted by the presence of minor children in the home and low maternal education. Food insecure households were more likely to have at least one member affected by symptoms of depression (deprimido), nervios (an ethnospecific condition), learning disorders, and symptoms suggestive of gastrointestinal infection. Although not directly associated with food insecurity, adult obesity, central body adiposity, elevated blood pressure, and blood lipid and glucose disturbances were common. These findings highlight the significant food security and health challenges faced by border area MSFW families.


U.S. Food Security Scale Hispanic Health outcomes Obesity 



The project was supported, in part, by funding from the Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) Special Projects, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, “Migrant Border Health Initiative” (AHQR 02EM000075F2).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Margaret Weigel
    • 1
  • Rodrigo X. Armijos
    • 1
  • Yolanda Posada Hall
    • 2
  • Yolanda Ramirez
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Rubi Orozco
    • 3
  1. 1.Human Immunology and Nutrition Research Laboratory, Department of Health Promotion, College of Health SciencesUniversity of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA
  2. 2.University of Texas at Houston School of Public Health, El Paso Regional CampusEl PasoUSA
  3. 3.California Department of Health ServicesRichmondUSA

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