The household food insecurity and health outcomes of U.S.-Mexico border migrant and seasonal farmworkers

J Immigr Minor Health. 2007 Jul;9(3):157-69. doi: 10.1007/s10903-006-9026-6.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Agriculture*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Food Supply / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / epidemiology
  • Malnutrition / ethnology*
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • New Mexico / epidemiology
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Seasons*
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data*