Gender Disparities in the Association between Food Insecurity and Psychological Distress among US Adults



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Introduction: Women are more likely to experience food insecurity (13.2% vs. 12.3% men) and more likely to report higher levels of psychological distress than men. Limited research has examined gender disparities in association between food insecurity and psychological distress among U.S. adults. Methods: We used cross-sectional 2014-2018 National Health Interview Survey data on 41,122 participants 18-59 years old with household income ?299% federal poverty level (FPL). 10-item USDA Food Security Scale measured food security levels (food secure: 0-2 items; food insecure: 3-10 items). Kessler-6 scale was used to measure the level of psychological distress and classify participants as having no psychological distress (more than 6 items), moderate psychological distress (6-12 items), and serious psychological distress (SPD; less than or equal to 13 items). Multinomial logistic regression models were used to estimate the associations between food insecurity and psychological distress by gender. All models were adjusted for age, ethnicity, education, insurance coverage, employment status, marital status, and FPL. Results: In adjusted models, compared with food secure men, those that were food insecure were significantly more likely to report MPD (OR: 2.37, 95% CI: 2.08-2.70) and SPD (OR: 4.20, 95% CI: 3.47-5.09). Compared with food-secure women, those that were food insecure were also more likely to report MPD (OR: 2.67, 95% CI: 2.42-2.95) and SPD (OR: 5.27, 95% CI: 4.58-6.06). Conclusion: Findings highlight the continued need for community programs focused on providing resources to men and women experiencing food insecurity and psychological distress.



Exercise Science, Biology