Objectives: We assessed current levels of food insecurity among a large, diverse sample of parents and examined associations between food insecurity and parental weight status, eating patterns, and the home food environment.
Methods: Project F-EAT (Families and Eating and Activity Among Teens) examined the home food environments of adolescents. Parents and caregivers (n = 2095) living with adolescents from the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota school districts completed mailed surveys during a 12-month period in 2009-2010. We performed our assessments using multivariate regressions.
Results: Almost 39% of the parents and caregivers experienced household food insecurity, whereas 13% experienced very low food security. Food insecurity was significantly associated with poorer nutrition-related variables such as higher rates of parental overweight and obesity, less healthy foods served at meals, and higher rates of binge eating. Food-insecure parents were 2 to 4 times more likely to report barriers to accessing fruits and vegetables.
Conclusions: Food insecurity was highly prevalent. Environmental interventions are needed to protect vulnerable families against food insecurity and to improve access to affordable, healthy foods.