A qualitative inquiry of food insecurity in Belize

Public Health Nutr. 2022 Apr;25(4):977-986. doi: 10.1017/S1368980021002615. Epub 2021 Jun 11.


Objective: To explore and provide contextual meaning around issues surrounding food insecurity, namely factors influencing food access, as one domain of food security.

Design: A community-based, qualitative inquiry using semi-structured face-to-face interviews was conducted as part of a larger sequential mixed-methods study.

Setting: Cayo District, Belize, May 2019-August 2019.

Participants: Thirty English-speaking individuals (eight males, twenty-two females) between the ages of 18-70, with varying family composition residing within the Cayo District.

Results: Participants describe a complex interconnectedness between family- and individual-level barriers to food access. Specifically, family composition, income, education and employment influence individuals' ability to afford and access food for themselves or their families. Participants also cite challenges with transportation and distance to food sources and educational opportunities as barriers to accessing food.

Conclusion: These findings provide insight around food security and food access barriers in a middle-income country and provide avenues for further study and potential interventions. Increased and sustained investment in primary and secondary education, including programmes to support enrollment, should be a priority to decreasing food insecurity. Attention to building public infrastructure may also ease burdens around accessing foods.

Keywords: Belize; Food access; Food security; Qualitative.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Belize
  • Female
  • Food Insecurity
  • Food Supply* / methods
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Young Adult