Online Program

Continued food insecurity post-Hurricane Katrina is associated with worse perceived disaster recovery, physical and mental health

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Mia Papas, PhD, Value Institute, Christiana Care Health Systems, Newark, DE
Lauren Clay, PhD, MPH, Health Services Administration, D'Youville College, Buffalo, NY
Kimberly Gill, PhD, College of Science, Health, and Liberal Arts, Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, PA
David Abramson, PhD, MPH, College of Global Public Health, New York University, New York, NY
Introduction  Food insecurity after disasters is a common occurrence.  Disaster recovery efforts focus on the provision of basic needs such as food and water.  Although these efforts relieve immediate need, it is unclear as to whether individuals continue to experience food insecurity and how this impacts health and well-being.       

Methods The Gulf Coast Child and Family Health (G-CAFH) Study is a longitudinal study of 1,079 households impacted by Hurricane Katrina.  In 2010, participants reported on perceived recovery post-disaster as well as demographic characteristics, physical and mental health, and continued problems paying for food.  To examine associations among food problems and perceived disaster recovery, physical health, and mental health status we fit logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results  Individuals with continued food problems (23%) after Hurricane Katrina were younger, single, low-income, and did not own a home.  After adjusting for these covariates, individuals with continued food problems were less likely to report feeling recovered (OR=0.32; 95% CI: 0.21, 0.51), being in good physical health (OR=0.98; 95% CI: 0.96, 0.99) or good mental health (OR=0.97; 95% CI: 0.95, 0.98) status compared to those not reporting food problems.  These associations held regardless of household income (p-for-interaction > 0.05).

Discussion   A lack of perceived disaster recovery as well as poor physical and mental health were associated with food insecurity five-years post-Hurricane Katrina.  Long-term community recovery efforts should focus on the development of secure and sustainable food systems to address continued food insecurity experienced by those affected by disasters and ameliorate the negative health consequences.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe disaster recovery and food insecurity outcomes in a group of households heavily impacted by Hurricane Katrina Identify one recommendation for improving post disaster food systems to reduce negative health consequences

Keyword(s): Disasters, Food Security

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have extensive work with examining outcomes and risk factors for food security among vulnerable populations in the United States. I have also worked with the team of researchers conducting this work for over 1 year now.
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.

Back to: 3146.0: Nature and Human Health