Background: The use of foodbanks has risen sharply in the UK; however, the epidemiology of UK food insecurity is undeveloped. This study contributes to the field by analysing socio-demographic risk factors for food insecurity in a female, ethnically diverse population.
Methods: Data from the Born in Bradford (BiB) cohort were matched with data on food insecurity from the nested BiB1000 study (N = 1280). Logistic regression was used to model food insecurity in relation to ethnicity and socio-demographic factors.
Results: Food insecurity, reported by 13.98% of the sample, was more likely among White British than Pakistani women (crude Odds Ratio (OR) 1.94, 95% CI: 1.37; 2.74, adjusted OR 2.37, 95% CI: 1.57; 3.59). In fully adjusted analyses, food insecurity was associated with a range of socio-economic measures, particularly the receipt of mean-tested benefits (adjusted OR 2.11, 95% CI: 1.41; 3.15) and perception of financial insecurity (adjusted OR 8.91, 95% CI: 4.14; 19.16 for finding it difficult/very difficult compared to living comfortably).
Conclusions: The finding that food insecurity prevalence may be higher than previously thought and that food insecurity is highly associated with socio-economic status, notably benefit receipt, is a cause for concern necessitating an urgent policy response.