Feeding a family in a recession: food insecurity among Minnesota parents

Am J Public Health. 2012 Mar;102(3):520-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300390. Epub 2012 Jan 19.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers
  • Data Collection
  • Economic Recession*
  • Female
  • Food Supply / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minnesota
  • Parents*