Race Differences in Diet Quality of Urban Food-Insecure Blacks and Whites Reveals Resiliency in Blacks
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Evidence from epidemiological studies shows a link between food insecurity and diet intake or quality. However, the moderating effect of race in this relation has not yet been studied.
Food insecurity (USDA Food Security Module) and diet quality (Healthy Eating Index-2010; HEI) were measured in 1741 participants from the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span (HANDLS) study. Data were collected from 2004 to 2009 and analyzed in 2014. Multivariable regression assessed the interaction of race and food insecurity on HEI scores, adjusting for age, sex, poverty status, single parent status, drug, alcohol and cigarette use, and comorbid diseases.
The interaction of food insecurity and race was significantly associated with diet quality (p = 0.001). In the absence of food insecurity, HEI scores were similar across race. However, with each food insecurity item endorsed, HEI scores were substantially lower for Whites compared to Blacks. An ad hoc analysis revealed that Blacks were more likely than Whites to participate in SNAP (p < 0.05). Further, race stratified analyses revealed that Blacks participating in SNAP showed diminished associations of food insecurity with diet quality.
Study findings provide the first evidence that the influence of food insecurity on diet quality may be potentiated for Whites, but not Blacks. Additionally, results show that Blacks are more likely to participate in SNAP and show attendant buffering of the effects of food insecurity on diet quality. These findings may have important implications for understanding how food insecurity affects diet quality differentially by race.
KeywordsFood insecurity Diet quality Health disparities SNAP Food stamps Race Urban
This work was supported by the Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and NIH grant 1 RO1AG034161 (A.B.Z. & M.K.E.).
Compliance with Ethical standards
This work was supported by the Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health (NIH) (A.B.Z. & M.K.E.) and NIH grant 1 RO1AG034161 (S.R.W.).
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the MedStar Institutional Review Board and NIH’s NIEHS Institutional Review Board, and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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