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J Public Health (Oxf). 2018 Mar 1;40(1):32-40. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdx029.

Food insecurity and socio-demographic characteristics in two UK ethnic groups: an analysis of women in the Born in Bradford cohort.

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Department of Health Sciences, University of York, Heslington, YorkYO10 5DD, UK.
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Bradford, Bradford BD5 0BB, UK.
Faculty of Health Studies, University of Bradford, Bradford BD5 0BB, UK.
The York Management School, University of York, Freboys Lane, York YO10 5GD, UK.



The use of foodbanks has risen sharply in the UK; however, the epidemiology of UK food insecurity is undeveloped. This study contributes to the field by analysing socio-demographic risk factors for food insecurity in a female, ethnically diverse population.


Data from the Born in Bradford (BiB) cohort were matched with data on food insecurity from the nested BiB1000 study (N = 1280). Logistic regression was used to model food insecurity in relation to ethnicity and socio-demographic factors.


Food insecurity, reported by 13.98% of the sample, was more likely among White British than Pakistani women (crude Odds Ratio (OR) 1.94, 95% CI: 1.37; 2.74, adjusted OR 2.37, 95% CI: 1.57; 3.59). In fully adjusted analyses, food insecurity was associated with a range of socio-economic measures, particularly the receipt of mean-tested benefits (adjusted OR 2.11, 95% CI: 1.41; 3.15) and perception of financial insecurity (adjusted OR 8.91, 95% CI: 4.14; 19.16 for finding it difficult/very difficult compared to living comfortably).


The finding that food insecurity prevalence may be higher than previously thought and that food insecurity is highly associated with socio-economic status, notably benefit receipt, is a cause for concern necessitating an urgent policy response.


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