• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of amjphAmerican Journal of Public Health Web SiteAmerican Public Health Association Web SiteSubmissionsSubscriptionsAbout Us
Am J Public Health. 1998 March; 88(3): 419–426.
PMCID: PMC1508323

Food insufficiency exists in the United States: results from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III).


OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of food insufficiency in the United States and to examine sociodemographic characteristics related to food insufficiency. METHODS: Data were analyzed from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a cross-sectional representative sample of the civilian noninstitutionalized population living in households. Individuals were classified as "food insufficient" if a family respondent reported that the family sometimes or often did not get enough food to eat. RESULTS: From 1988 through 1994, the overall prevalence of food insufficiency was 4.1% and was primarily related to poverty status. In the low-income population, food insufficiency was positively associated with being Mexican American, being under the age of 60, having a family head who had not completed high school, participating in the Food Stamp Program, and not having health insurance. It was not related to family type or employment status of the family head. Over half of food-insufficient individuals lived in employed families. CONCLUSIONS: Food insufficiency is not limited to very low-income persons, specific racial/ethnic groups, family types, or the unemployed. Understanding food insufficiency is critical to formulating nutrition programs and policies.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (2.0M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Radimer KL, Olson CM, Campbell CC. Development of indicators to assess hunger. J Nutr. 1990 Nov;120 (Suppl 11):1544–1548. [PubMed]
  • Campbell CC. Food insecurity: a nutritional outcome or a predictor variable? J Nutr. 1991 Mar;121(3):408–415. [PubMed]
  • Brown JL, Pollitt E. Malnutrition, poverty and intellectual development. Sci Am. 1996 Feb;274(2):38–43. [PubMed]
  • Freeman HE, Aiken LH, Blendon RJ, Corey CR. Uninsured working-age adults: characteristics and consequences. Health Serv Res. 1990 Feb;24(6):811–823. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from American Journal of Public Health are provided here courtesy of American Public Health Association


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...