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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2007 May-Jun;39(3):116-25.

Hunger of the body and hunger of the mind: African American women's perceptions of food insecurity, health and violence.

Author information

1
Department of Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA 19102-1192, USA. Mariana.Chilton@drexel.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This qualitative study examined the relationship between health, hunger, and food insecurity among African American women in Philadelphia.

DESIGN:

Four focus groups and 12 individual in-home, semistructured interviews were conducted.

SETTING:

3 food pantries in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

PARTICIPANTS:

34 women recruited from 3 food pantries.

PHENOMENON OF INTEREST:

Interview topics included participants' experiences of food insecurity, food sources, and the relationship between food, hunger, and health.

ANALYSIS:

A phenomenological coding scheme and network analysis was developed based on themes emerging from qualitative data.

RESULTS:

The experience of food insecurity was related to violence and poor mental health. Women described 2 kinds of hunger: "hunger of the body" and "hunger of the mind." Hunger of the body referred to the outright painful sensation of hunger caused by insufficient funds. Hunger of the mind was related to trauma, encompassing feelings of depression and hopelessness. Both forms of hunger may be a physical manifestation of structural and interpersonal violence.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

There is a need for a broader framework to examine the health effects of food insecurity that addresses women's safety, economic independence, and physical and emotional well-being.

PMID:
17493561
DOI:
10.1016/j.jneb.2006.11.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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