Experiences of Latino immigrant families in North Carolina help explain elevated levels of food insecurity and hunger.
Quandt-SA; Shoaf-JI; Tapia-J; Hernandez-Pelletier-M; Clark-HM; Arcury-TA
J Nutr 2006 Oct; 136(10):2638-2644
Household food insecurity is higher among minority households in the U.S., but few data exist on households of recent minority immigrants, in part because such households are difficult to sample. Four studies of a total of 317 Latino immigrant families were conducted in different regions and during different seasons in North Carolina. A Spanish translation of the 18-item U.S. Food Security Survey Module was used to assess the prevalence of food insecurity and hunger. In 3 of the studies, a total of 76 in-depth interviews were conducted to gather information on immigrants' experiences of food insecurity. Households in the 4 studies classified as food secure ranged from 28.7 to 50.9%, compared with 82.4% in the U.S. in 2004. Food insecurity without hunger ranged from 35.6% to 41.8%, compared with 13.3% in the U.S. The highest rates of hunger reported were 18.8% (moderate hunger) and 16.8% (severe hunger) in an urban sample. Qualitative data indicate that food insecurity has both quantitative and qualitative effects on diet. Immigrants experience adverse psychological effects of food insecurity. They report experiencing a period of adjustment to food insecurity leading to empowerment to resolve the situation. Reactions to food insecurity differ from those reported by others, possibly because immigrants encounter a new and not chronic situation. Overall, these findings suggest that immigrant Latinos experience significant levels of food insecurity that are not addressed by current governmental programs.
Nutrition; Nutritional-disorders; Demographic-characteristics; Racial-factors; Food; Food-deprivation; Quantitative-analysis; Qualitative-analysis; Psychological-effects; Sampling
The Journal of Nutrition
Wake Forest University