Food insecurity, food assistance and health status in the U.S. community health center population

Carmen Alvarez, Paula Lantz, Jessica Sharac, Peter Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objectives. This study explored the relationship between food insecurity, food assistance, and self-reported health status among community health center (CHC) clients. Methods. Using data from the 2009 Community Health Center Patient Survey (n = 4,562), representing Federally Qualified Health Center clients, we conducted logistic regression analyses to identify the association between food insecurity and fair/poor health status, controlling for food assistance and sociodemographic factors. Results. Approximately 1/3 of the sample (31.9%) reported fair/poor health status, 10.9% reported food insecurity, and 52.6% reported public food assistance. Multivariate analyses revealed that, among women, those with food insecurity had significantly higher odds of reporting fair/poor health status (AOR = 2.14, 95% CI 1.20–3.82). Conclusions. Expansion of financial access to health care via the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act coupled with recent funding cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program means that CHCs play an increasingly important role in addressing food insecurity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-91
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Food assistance
  • Food insecurity
  • Health status
  • Low income

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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