Objective: Food insecurity may be a modifiable and independent risk factor for worse control of medical conditions, but it has not been explored among veterans. We determined the prevalence of, and factors independently associated with, food insecurity among veterans in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS).
Methods: Using data from VACS from 2002-2008, we determined the prevalence of food insecurity among veterans who have accessed health care in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) as defined by "concern about having enough food for you or your family in the past month." We used multivariable logistic regression to determine factors independently associated with food insecurity and tests of trend to measure the association between food insecurity and control of hypertension, diabetes, HIV, and depression.
Results: Of the 6,709 veterans enrolled in VACS, 1,624 (24%) reported being food insecure. Food insecurity was independently associated with being African American, earning <$25,000/year, recent homelessness, marijuana use, and depression. Being food insecure was also associated with worse control of hypertension, diabetes, HIV, and depression (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Food insecurity is prevalent and associated with worse control of medical conditions among veterans who have accessed care in the VA.