Food insecurity: Comparing odds between working-age veterans and nonveterans with children

Nurs Outlook. 2021 Mar-Apr;69(2):212-220. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2020.08.011. Epub 2020 Oct 16.


Background: Low-income, working-age Veterans with children have risk for food insecurity. Less known is extent to which their risk compares to nonveterans.

Purpose: To evaluate odds of food insecurity for working-age Veterans with children compared to socioeconomically-matched nonveterans with children.

Method: We constructed a propensity score-matched cohort using 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. Covariate-adjusted logistic regressions estimated Veterans' odds for overall food insecurity and for each level of severity compared to nonveterans.

Findings: We matched 155 Veterans to 310 nonveterans on gender, race/ethnicity, education, income. Models were adjusted for age, marital-status, depression, and listed matched variables. Although Veteran-status had no effect on overall food insecurity (odds ratio = 1.09, 95% confidence interval [0.62,1.93]), Veteran-status increased odds for very low food security (odds ratio = 2.71, 95% confidence interval [1.21, 6.07]).

Discussion: Veterans do not have higher odds of food insecurity than non-veterans, but they are more likely to have the more severe very low food security (often associated with hunger) than non-veterans. Investigation of food insecurity's impact on Veteran health/well-being is needed.

Keywords: Family; Food security; Hunger; Matched analysis; Military; Propensity score; Social determinants.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Food Insecurity*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • United States