Food Insecurity Among Asian Americans

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This study evaluated the prevalence and burden of food insecurity among disaggregated Asian American populations. In this research, prevalence of food insecurity among Asian American subgroups was assessed, with the primary exposure variable of interest being acculturation. This assessment utilized the California Health Interview Survey, the largest state health survey. The results demonstrated that the highest prevalence of food insecurity was found among Vietnamese (16.42%), while the lowest prevalence was among Japanese (2.28%). A significant relationship was noted between the prevalence of food insecurity and low acculturation within Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese subgroups.

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In these groups, the language spoken at home was significantly associated with food insecurity. For instance, among Chinese and South Asians, being food insecure was associated with being bilingual or speaking a non-English language at home. This situation also related to a higher incidence of food insecurity when compared to their U.S-born, English-speaking counterparts. Furthermore, the article points out a significant gap in the literature addressing barriers to food aid among such populations. Therefore, their results not only highlight the need for a more comprehensive assessment, but also for outreach to increase food aid participation among the most at-risk groups. In conclusion, the study suggests that addressing the burden of food insecurity among low-acculturation Asian Americans is of imperative need.

Description of relevance among the topic and article:

This article provides significant crisis information about the burden of food insecurity among disaggregated Asian American populations in the United States. The study reports that one potential reason attributed to this is the model minority myth. This myth assumes that Asians have unparalleled achievements in education and success, leading to the assumption that the population suffers little health disparities. Yet, numerous studies demonstrate that such a myth has led to internalized racism, resulting in negative attitudes towards seeking mental health care and increased psychological distress. Furthermore, this article highlights 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 vitally important in addressing one of the major foundational determinants of this public health issue in the United States.

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

This article evaluates recent research on the numerous detrimental impacts of poverty and food insecurity on the health and well-being of 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 the health and well-being of society. According to the article, children living in low-income families are highly exposed to various harmful factors impacting their overall health and well-being, including food insecurity, obesity, behavioral and emotional problems, poor growth, and learning disabilities that lead to poor academic outcomes, among others. Such factors can severely influence their lives and future potentials, compromising crucial survival abilities. Furthermore, it is more likely for low-income adolescents to engage in health-compromising behaviors, such as smoking and tobacco use. The article addresses the fact that those children and adults living in poverty, and experiencing socioeconomic inequalities, are more vulnerable to food insecurity. Food insecurity is detrimental to both physical and mental health across all ages, particularly affecting the development and well-being of children in both the short and long term. “They will be sick more often, recover from illness more slowly, and be hospitalized more frequently,” the article states. In some food-insecure households, limited financial resources may result in the use of coping strategies to stretch budgets on medication or low nutrient-dense foods, which can exacerbate existing diseases and increase health expenditures due to prolonged recovery compared to food-secure households with chronic diseases. Moreover, low nutrient-dense foods can lead to a greater exposure to obesity. Finally, the article indicates that research shows the solutions to tackle the challenging issues of poverty, food insecurity, and health and well-being involve utilizing federal nutrition programs more frequently, including SNAP and Child Nutrition Programs. It stresses that to improve the nation’s health, it is important to connect people to these federal nutrition programs.

Description of relevance among the topic and article:

This article strongly connects the concepts of food insecurity with poverty, and provides a number 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, ranging from nutrient deficiencies and limited physical activity, to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. This article offers a critical reflection on the foundational determinants of this public health issue. It concludes that unless the nation addresses all the risk factors of poverty and food insecurity, it will become a continuous vicious cycle with 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.

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. The intention is to inform strategies that improve food security in Ethiopia. The findings of this study are expected to provide useful information for related policy formulation, helping to allocate resources and track the impact of interventions. According to the study, out of the 15,159 households surveyed, 6671 (44.01%) reported food insecurity. The major coping strategies included decreasing meal frequency and portions (3733 households or 55.96%), borrowing money and food (2542 households or 38.11%), and receiving food and money aid (1779 households or 26.67%). In conclusion, the households in the study area experienced very high rates of food insecurity, with decreasing meal frequencies and portion sizes as the primary coping mechanisms. Furthermore, due to severe food insecurity, many people reduced the amounts and frequencies of their meals to make their food supplies last longer. This finding indicates a high risk of undernourishment, exacerbating 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 at the household level. Due to food insecurity, these households face many social, economic, political, and health consequences. The challenge of feeding family members leads to a variety of issues and consequences, such as migration and related health risks. Food insecurity could cause depression, suicidal ideation, nutrient deficiencies, obesity, and other health risks that exacerbate well-being. In response to food insecurity, households employ various coping mechanisms. This article enhances my understanding of how hunger and food insecurity significantly impact every household in society, including the adverse health consequences and challenges that affect the lives of 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 between food insecurity and substance use using longitudinal data among women with or at risk for HIV in the United States. The study involved a total of 2553 women with or at potential risk for HIV. According to the study, the researchers used “multivariable logistic regression with random effects” to examine the associations of current and previous food security cohorts with the outcomes, adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, HIV serostatus, physical conditions, and health insurance. The analyses showed that low and very low food insecurity groups were each significantly associated with all categories of substance use compared to the high food security group. Ultimately, the article suggests that food insecurity may act as a structural driver of substance use, in addition to being a product of substance use. It also demonstrates that food insecurity is longitudinally associated with substance use among US women with or at risk for HIV. The findings caution against oversimplified drug policies that fail to address structural vulnerabilities and the need for a socially focused, structural, and public health approach to substance use in the United States, where food insecurity is a critical component, as stated by the researchers.

Description of relevance among the topic and article:

This article provides a series of information and examines the association between food-insecure groups with substance use, and the probability of overdosing, most strongly with stimulants and opioids, 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, especially women of color, are also threatened by well-recognized epidemics of substance use, violence, and HIV in the states. It also addresses how substance use plays a key role by increasing the risk of unprotected sex, transactional sex, and gender-based violence, while also undermining healthcare decision-making processes. Overall, the study informs the readers about one of the drawbacks and the 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 between 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 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 affect growth, social relations, academic performance, and quality of life. 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 result of the study was the prevalence of food insecurity reported by maternal caregivers was high, affecting “78% of the 279” study households, and children living 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 the 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 these determinants. This article examines how household food insecurity influences the well-being and health outcomes of children, specifically focusing 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 less diverse diets, and lower macronutrient blood levels. In addition to the impact on regular meals, household food insecurity can also cause stress and feelings of discomfort in children. This can promote psychosocial dysfunction, such as deprivation, a sense of embarrassment, or stigmatization. I found this article highly important due to its contribution of a series of data and insights on household food insecurity’s influence on children’s psychosocial dysfunction and overall health.

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