Household food insecurity is associated with depressive symptoms among low-income pregnant Latinas

Matern Child Nutr. 2011 Oct;7(4):421-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-8709.2010.00266.x. Epub 2010 Aug 23.


Latinas experience high rates of poverty, household food insecurity and prenatal depression. To date, only one USA study has examined the relationship between household food insecurity and prenatal depression, yet it focused primarily on non-Latina white and non-Latina black populations. Therefore, this study examined the independent association of household food insecurity with depressive symptoms among low-income pregnant Latinas. This cross-sectional study included 135 low income pregnant Latinas living in Hartford, Connecticut. Women were assessed at enrolment for household food security during pregnancy using an adapted and validated version of the US Household Food Security Survey Module. Prenatal depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. A cut-off of ≥21 was used to indicate elevated levels of prenatal depressive symptoms (EPDS). Multivariate backwards stepwise logistic regression was used to identify risk factors for EPDS. Almost one third of participants had EPDS. Women who were food insecure were more likely to experience EPDS compared to food secure women (OR = 2.59; 95% CI = 1.03-6.52). Being primiparous, experiencing heartburn and reporting poor/fair health during pregnancy, as well as having a history of depression were also independent risk factors for experiencing EPDS. Findings from this study suggest the importance of assessing household food insecurity when evaluating depression risk among pregnant Latinas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Connecticut / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / ethnology*
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Food Supply / economics*
  • Food Supply / standards*
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Poverty
  • Pregnancy / ethnology
  • Pregnancy / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult