Disability and Mental Health Status as Determinants of Food I ...

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  • Title: Disability and Mental Health Status as Determinants of Food Insecurity among Immigrants in California
  • Author(s): Ogbochi Mc Kinney, Jim E. Banta, Levi Garrett, Pamela Mukaire
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Food Studies
  • Journal Title: Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
  • Keywords: Disability, Serious Psychological Disorders, SPD, BMI, Obesity, Food Insecurity, Immigrants, SNAP, California Health Interview Survey, Epidemiology
  • Volume: 9
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2160-1933 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2160-1941 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v09i02/15-28
  • Citation: Mc Kinney, Ogbochi , Jim E. Banta, Levi Garrett, and Pamela Mukaire. 2019. "Disability and Mental Health Status as Determinants of Food Insecurity among Immigrants in California." Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 9 (2): 15-28. doi:10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v09i02/15-28.
  • Extent: 14 pages


The intent of this research was to determine if disability, body mass index (BMI), and serious psychological distress are associated with food insecurity among residents of California. We conducted a secondary analysis of 61,274 Californians who responded to the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) for 2013–2015. Disability was measured as having a physical, mental, or emotional condition. Serious psychological distress (SPD) was measured using the Kessler-6 Scale. Food security was measured as either being food secure, food insecure without hunger, or food insecure with hunger. The relationship between food insecurity status, disability, BMI, and SPD was assessed by means of multivariate logistic regression analyses using STATA/SE 14.2 for Windows. Of the 61,274 participants, 15.4 percent reported food insecurity. Among the food insecure, we found that individuals born outside of the US accounted for 54.8 percent, Latinos accounted for 60.1 percent, individuals on food stamps accounted for 24.7 percent, individuals with serious psychological distress accounted for 11.7 percent, disabled individuals accounted for 45.1 percent, and obese individuals accounted for 34.5 percent. From our multivariate logistic regression results, food insecurity was associated with being on food stamps (Odds Ratio [OR] 3.50), having serious psychological distress (OR 2.42), being foreign born (OR 2.38), and being disabled (OR 1.92). The data showed food insecurity was prevalent among immigrants in California and it was significantly associated with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), SPD, disability, and being overweight or obese. These results show a need for culturally appropriate interventions targeting immigrants in California dealing with psychological distress and other mental, physical, and emotional disabilities.