Food Insecurity Among Asian Americans

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Updated: Nov 11, 2022
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This study evaluated the prevalence and burden of food insecurity among disaggregated Asian American populations. In this study, the researchers assessed the prevalence of food insecurity in the midst of Asian American subgroups with primary exposure variable of interest being acculturation by using the California Health Interview Survey which is the biggest state health survey. The results demonstrated that the highest prevalence of food insecurity was found among “Vietnamese (16.42%)” and the lowest prevalence was among “Japanese (2.28%)”. A significant relationship was noted between prevalence of food insecurity and low acculturation for Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese subgroups, which language spoken at home was significantly associated with food insecurity. For instance, among Chinese, being food insecure was associated with being bilingual or speaking a non-English language at home, while among South Asians associated with speaking a non-English language at home was also related to higher prevalence of experiencing food insecurity, as compared to English speakers only, the US-born counterparts. Furthermore, the article points out there is a significant gap in the literatures addressing barriers to food aid among such populations and hence their results not only highlight the need for more comprehensive assessment, but also outreach to increase food aid participation for the most at-risk groups. In conclusion, the study suggests that there is an imperative need to address food insecurity burden among low-acculturation Asian Americans.

Description of relevance among the topic and article:

This article provides a significant crisis and information about the burden of food insecurity among disaggregated Asian American populations in the United States. The study reports that one potential reason has been attributed to the model minority myth, which assumes Asians have unparalleled achievements in education and success, hence leading to the assumption that the population suffers little health discrepancies. Yet, numerous of studies demonstrate that such a myth has led to internalized racialism, further resulting in negative attitudes towards seeking mental health care and increased psychological distress. Furthermore, they highlight the role of acculturation in food insecurity among the population, the process by which immigrants adapt to the host nation, as a major determinant of health disparities. Overall, this article is extremely vital to address one of the humongous foundational determinants of this public health issue in the United States.

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FRAC. (2017). The Impact of Poverty, Food Insecurity, and Poor Nutrition on health and well-being, (December), 1–14. Retrieved from

This article evaluates a recent research on numerous detrimental impacts of poverty and food insecurity on the health and well-being among children and adults. It also describes the imperative role of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Federal Child Nutrition Programs in alleviating poverty and food insecurity to improve health and well-being of the society. According to the article, during childhood, children live in low-income family are highly exposed to various harmful factors impacting the overall health and well-being, including food insecurity, obesity, behavioral and emotional problems, poor growth, learning disabilities that lead to poor academic outcomes, and so forth; which will severely influence their livings and future potentials with crucial survival abilities. Furthermore, it is more likely for low-income adolescents to engage in health-compromising behaviors, such as smoking and tobacco using. In the article, it addresses that those children and adults who live under poverty and socioeconomic inequalities, are more vulnerable exposed to food insecurity. Food insecurity is detrimental to both physical and mental health for all ages, particularly the development and well-being of children in the short and long terms. “They will be sick more often, recover from illness more slowly, and be hospitalized more frequently,”– According to the article. In some food-insecure households, due to limited financial resources, they may also use coping strategies to stretch budgets on medication or low nutrient dense foods which can exacerbate existing disease and increase extra health expenditures due to prolong-recovery compare to food-secure households with chronic diseases; and low nutrient dense foods can cause greater exposure to obesity. Finally, the article indicates that the research shows the solutions to tackle the challenging issues of poverty, food insecurity, and health and well-being are utilizing federal nutrition programs more frequently, including SNAP and Child Nutrition Programs. It stresses that in order to improve the nation’s health, it is important to connect people to federal nutrition programs.

Description of relevance among the topic and article:

This article strongly connects the concepts of food insecurity with poverty and provide numbers of health problems related to the social determinants of health. Food insecurity and poverty are significantly associated with some of the most serious and costly health problems influencing children and adults in the United States, starting from nutrient deficiencies and less physical activity to chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. This article provides a critical reflection on the foundational determinants of this public health issue that unless the nation addresses all of the risk factors of poverty and food insecurity, it will eventually become a continuous vicious cycle and it is a detrimental lifelong influence on individuals.

Reducing amount and frequency of meal as a major coping strategy for food insecurity. (2018). Archives of Public Health., 76, Archives of public health. , 2018, Vol.76.

This study aims to identify and describe the coping mechanisms which are ways to manage external or internal stress during periods of food insecurity at the Dabat Health and Demographic Surveillance System (DHDSS) site, with the intention of informing strategies to improve food security in Ethiopia. The findings of this study are expected to provide useful information for related policy formulation and help to allocate resources and track the impact of interventions. The results of the study reported that of the 15,159 households surveyed, “6671 (44.01%)” indicated the presence of a food insecurity in their household. Decreasing meal frequency and portions “(3733 (55.96%))”, borrowing money and food “(2542 (38.11%))”, and receiving food and money aid “(1779 (26.67%))” were among the major coping strategies used by the households. In conclusion, households in the study area experienced a very high rate of food insecurity. Decreasing meal frequencies and portions was the primary coping mechanism used by the households. Furthermore, due to the severe food insecurity in their households, many people chose to reduce the amounts and frequencies of their meal in order to prolong the small amounts of food in their house. This finding indicates a high risk for undernourishment which can exacerbate the burden of malnutrition and related diseases in the region.

Description of relevance among the topic and article:

The primary manifestation of food insecurity is food insecurity at the household level. Due to foo insecurity, these households face many social, economic, political, and health consequences. The challenge of feeding family members has a variety of attributes and consequences, for instance migration and related health risks. Following food insecurity, people could have depression, suicidal ideation, nutrient deficiencies, obesity, and other health risks that exacerbate the well-beings. Moreover, in response to food insecurity, households use a range of mechanisms to cope. This article provides me better understandings on how hunger and food insecurity play an important role base on each household in the society, plus what are the adverse health consequences and challenges impacting the lives of the children and their caregivers.

Whittle, Henry J, Sheira, Lila A, Frongillo, Edward A, Palar, Kartika, Cohen, Jennifer, Merenstein, Daniel, . . . Weiser, Sheri D. (2018). Longitudinal associations between food insecurity and substance use in a cohort of women with or at risk for HIV in the United States. Addiction (Abingdon, England), .

This study aimed to investigate the relationship using prior longitudinal data among women with or at risk for HIV in the United States by a prospective cohort study. The participants of the study are a total of 2553 women with or at risk for HIV. According to the study, the researchers used “multivariable logistic regression with random effects” to examine associations of present and preceding food security cohorts with the outcomes simultaneously, in order to adjust the sociodemographic characteristics of HIV serostatus, physical conditions, and health insurance. In the analyses, the researchers found out low and very low food insecurity groups were each associated significantly with all categories of substance use, compared to high food security group. In the end, the article indicates the data presented in the study, raise the possibility that food insecurity may act as a structural driver of substance use, in addition to being a product of substance use. It also shows that food insecurity appears to be longitudinally associated with substance use among US women with or at risk for HIV. The findings represent a warning against confining drug policies that seek to address structural vulnerabilities and “social-needed political focus, structural and public health dimensions of substance use in the United States, of which food insecurity is a component.” The researchers stated.

Description of relevance among the topic and article:

This article provides a series of information and examination of association between food- insecure group with substance use, and probability of overdosing most strongly with stimulants and opioids, which are known as appetite suppressants. The study demonstrates that women in particular, face unique challenges associated with food insecurity, substance use and HIV. In the United States, both single women with children and single women living alone exhibit higher rates of food insecurity than the national average. Low-income women and particularly women of color are also threatened by well-recognized epidemics of substance use, violence and HIV in the States. It also addresses substance use plays a key role by increasing the risk of unprotected sex, transactional sex and gender-based violence, while also undermining health-care decision-making processes. Overall, the study contributes to inform the readers one of the drawbacks and minor population living under food insecurity.

Weigel, M., & Armijos, R. (2018). Household Food Insecurity and Psychosocial Dysfunction in Ecuadorian Elementary Schoolchildren. International Journal of Pediatrics, 2018, 7.

This article closely examines the association of household food insecurity and psychosocial dysfunction within school-age children. Household food insecurity is reported to be associated with adverse child nutrition, growth, health outcomes, and findings from a number of studies conducted in the US and Canada suggest that school-age children exposed to household food insecurity have greater psychosocial dysfunction. Psychosocial dysfunction can adversely growth, social relations, academic performance, and quality of life. According to the article, the researchers conducted a cross-sectional study in Ecuador, a low middle-income country for the purpose of exploring whether exposure to household food insecurity was associated with greater psychosocial dysfunction in 6-12-year-old children attending public elementary school and their maternal caregivers in three low-income neighborhoods in Quito. Their hypothesis included both nutritional and non-nutritional aspects; one aspect indicated that household food insecurity has adverse effects on dietary leading to anemia in children, another aspect indicated the potential of psychological stress generated by living under household insecurity which can impact the psychosocial functioning of children. The results of the study was the prevalence of food insecurity reported by maternal caregivers was high which affected “78% of the 279” study households and children who live in food insecure households suffer from greater psychosocial dysfunction as reflected by their higher average scores on The Pediatric Symptoms Checklist (3 subscales contained in the PSC: internalizing, externalizing, and attention. They were used to identify specific types of child psychosocial impairments) and PSC internalizing and externalizing subscales. In conclusion, the study findings emphasize the importance of improving social and economic policies and programs that protect vulnerable children and their families from experiencing adverse consequences of household food insecurity.

Description of relevance among the topic and article:

There are many social determinants of food insecurity and household level is one of the determinants. This article examines how household food insecurity influence the well-being and health outcomes of the children, specifically on psychosocial dysfunction. Household food insecurity constitutes a major global public health and pediatric concern due to its high prevalence and association with adverse health and nutrition outcomes. Children in food insecure households tend to have poorer quality and diverse diets and lower macronutrient blood levels. Besides the regular meals, household food insecurity can also cause stress and feeling of discomfort in children, which can promote psychosocial dysfunction, such as deprivation, sense of embarrassment, or stigmatization. I found this article very important due to its contribution to a series of data and relationships on household food insecurity influencing children’s psychosocial dysfunction and overall health.

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Food Insecurity Among Asian Americans. (2020, Jan 02). Retrieved from