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J Am Diet Assoc. 2007 Nov;107(11):1989-93.

Household food insecurity is inversely associated with social capital and health in females from special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children households in Appalachian Ohio.

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Ohio University, School of Human and Consumer Sciences, Athens, Ohio, USA.


Food insecurity has been negatively associated with social capital (a measure of perceived social trust and community reciprocity) and health status. Yet, these factors have not been studied extensively among women from households participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) or the WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program. A cross-sectional, self-administered, mailed survey was conducted in Athens County, Ohio, to examine the household food security status, social capital, and self-rated health status of women from households receiving WIC benefits alone (n=170) and those from households receiving both WIC and Farmers' Market Nutrition Program benefits (n=65), as well as the relationship of food security, social capital, and self-rated health status. Household food security and perceived health status were not significantly different between groups; however, high social capital was greater (chi(2)=8.156, P=0.004) among WIC, compared to WIC/Farmers' Market Nutrition Program group respondents. Overall, household food insecurity was inversely associated with perceived health status (r=-0.229, P=0.001) and social capital (r=0.337, P<0.001). Enabling networking among clients, leading to client-facilitated programs and projects, and developing programs that strengthen social capital, including community-based mentoring programs and nutrition education programs that are linked to community-based activities, are needed, as is additional research to verify these findings.

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