Food capacities and satisfaction in participants in food security community interventions in Montreal, Canada

Health Promot Int. 2016 Dec;31(4):879-887. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dav085. Epub 2015 Aug 12.


Food insecurity is steadily increasing in Canada. The objective of this paper is to determine if food capacities and satisfaction of recently enrolled participants in food security interventions are associated with the intervention having either a traditional or an alternative type of approach. Participants having recently accessed traditional (n = 711) or alternative community interventions (n = 113) in the Montreal metropolitan area, Canada, were interviewed with a questionnaire. The categorizing variable was participation in a community organization providing either traditional interventions, aimed to help people cope with the urgent need of food, or alternative interventions, aimed at first assistance, in addition to the creation of long-term solutions such as social integration and skills development. Participants' food and nutrition-related capacities and food satisfaction are studied. Multilevel regression models were used to assess whether participants took part in a traditional or alternative interventions. These interventions do not reach the same population. Relative to participants in alternative food security interventions, participants in traditional interventions demonstrated less capacity for accessing information about food safety and healthiness, and perceived their diet as less healthy. Traditional food security participants also paid less attention to the nutritional properties of food and reported less satisfaction with quantity, variety and taste of the food they accessed. The reasons why individuals who may benefit the most from alternative interventions were unlikely to participate should be investigated. The potential that food security interventions may inadvertently reinforce social inequalities in health should be considered in future intervention research.

Keywords: community interventions; diet quality; food banks; food security; social inequalities.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cities
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Female
  • Food Assistance / organization & administration*
  • Food Assistance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Food Quality
  • Food Supply / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Power, Psychological
  • Quebec
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires