Associations between food insecurity and healthy behaviors among Korean adults

  • Chun, In-Ae (Department of Nutritional Service Team, Chosun University Hospital) ;
  • Ryu, So-Yeon (Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Chosun University) ;
  • Park, Jong (Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Chosun University) ;
  • Ro, Hee-Kyung (Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Natural Science, Chosun University) ;
  • Han, Mi-Ah (Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Chosun University)
  • Received : 2014.12.24
  • Accepted : 2015.03.31
  • Published : 2015.08.01


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Food insecurity has been suggested as being negatively associated with healthy behaviors and health status. This study was performed to identify the associations between food insecurity and healthy behaviors among Korean adults. SUBJECTS/METHODS: The data used were the 2011 Community Health Survey, cross-sectional representative samples of 253 communities in Korea. Food insecurity was defined as when participants reported that their family sometimes or often did not get enough food to eat in the past year. Healthy behaviors were considered as non-smoking, non-high risk drinking, participation in physical activities, eating a regular breakfast, and maintaining a normal weight. Multiple logistic regression and multinomial logistic regression analyses were used to identify the association between food insecurity and healthy behaviors. RESULTS: The prevalence of food insecurity was 4.4% (men 3.9%, women 4.9%). Men with food insecurity had lower odds ratios (ORs) for non-smoking, 0.75 (95% CI: 0.68-0.82), participation in physical activities, 0.82 (95% CI: 0.76-0.90), and eating a regular breakfast, 0.66 (95% CI: 0.59-0.74), whereas they had a higher OR for maintaining a normal weight, 1.19 (95% CI: 1.09-1.30), than men with food security. Women with food insecurity had lower ORs for non-smoking, 0.77 (95% CI: 0.66-0.89), and eating a regular breakfast, 0.79 (95% CI: 0.72-0.88). For men, ORs for obesity were 0.78 (95% CI: 0.70-0.87) for overweight and 0.56 (95% CI: 0.39-0.82) for mild obesity. For women, the OR for moderate obesity was 2.04 (95% CI: 1.14-3.63) as compared with normal weight. CONCLUSIONS: Food insecurity has a different impact on healthy behaviors. Provision of coping strategies for food insecurity might be critical to improve healthy behaviors among the population.


Supported by : Chosun University


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