Online Program

Food insecurity among pregnant women: Prevalence, trends and characteristics

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Ryan Gamba, MPH, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Barbara A. Laraia, PhD, MPH, RD, Department of Medicine, The University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Carina Saraiva, MPH, California Department of Public Health, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division, Sacramento, CA
Kristen Marchi, MPH, CSDH, Dept Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Melanie Dove, ScD, MPH, California Department of Public Health
Michael Curtis, PhD, California Department of Public Health
Paula Braveman, MD, MPH, Department of Community and Family Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

background: Food insecurity during pregnancy has been associated with stress, excessive gestational weight gain, gestational diabetes, birth defects, and other poor birth outcomes. However, little is known about the characteristics of food insecure pregnant women. This study describes prevalence, trends and characteristics of pregnant women with food insecurity. 

methods: The California Maternal and Infant Health Assessment is a statewide representative postpartum survey. Data from 2003 – 2012 (n=44,874) were used to examine trends and data from 2010 – 2012 (n=20,480) were used to describe the prevalence and characteristics of women experiencing food insecurity.  The United States Department of Agriculture’s 6-item scale was used to assess food security status.

results: Nearly one in five (18.5%, CI 17.6%, 19.5%) California women with a live birth during 2010-2012 reported food insecurity at some point during her pregnancy. Food insecurity decreased from 20.4% (19.0%, 21.8%) in 2004 to 16.3% (15.1%, 17.6%) in 2006 and increased to 19.4% (18.0%, 20.8%) in 2008, where it has remained fairly stable.  Food insecurity was greater among poorer, younger, less educated, and minority women.  The prevalence of food insecurity was significantly higher (p<0.001) among foreign-born Hispanic (31.5%), US-born Hispanic (18.2%) and Black women (22.9%), compared with White (10.3%) and Asian women (10.7%). 

conclusions: Food insecurity during pregnancy among women with a live birth in California is common.  Given the risks associated with food insecurity for pregnant women and their developing fetuses, addressing food insecurity can be an important opportunity for reducing disparities in maternal and child health.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the prevalence and trends of food insecurity among pregnant women in California. Discuss the importance of adequate nutrition and psychosocial wellbeing during pregnancy. Identify maternal characteristics and risk factors for food insecurity during pregnancy.

Keyword(s): MCH Epidemiology, Food Security

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a masters in public health in maternal and child health and am currently pursing an PhD in epidemiology. I have worked directly with food insecure women through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children. I am very interested in food insecurity and am in the process of publishing several manuscripts focusing on food insecurity during pregnancy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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