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J Public Health Med. 2003 Jun;25(2):156-9.

Food insecurity and low income in an English inner city.

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  • 1Department of Public Health Sciences, King's College London, Capital House, 42 Weston Street, London SE1 3QD.



Low incomes may not provide the minimum requirements for healthy living. We evaluated experiences of food insecurity in relation to income in inner London.


Subjects attending 10 general medical practices completed a short self-administered questionnaire, including the short form Household Food Security Scale and a short food frequency questionnaire.


Responses were obtained from 431/495 (87 per cent) subjects. Overall 87 (20 per cent) of subjects were classified as food insecure. Food insecurity was negatively associated with household income (p = 0.004). University-educated subjects (8 per cent) were less often food insecure than all others (26 per cent). Subjects who were food insecure were less likely to report eating fruit daily (food secure 48 per cent, food insecure 33 per cent, p = 0.017) or vegetables or salads daily (food secure 56 per cent, food insecure 34 per cent, p = 0.002).


Experiences of food insecurity may be common in households with incomes at the level of the UK national minimum wage or lower.

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