Food insecurity in Denmark: socio-demographic determinants and associations with eating- and health-related variables

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Food insecurity and its consequences have not received much attention in the Nordic, social-democratic welfare states. This study reports the prevalence of low and very low food security in Denmark, identifies its socio-demographic determinants and examines its associations with eating-related and health-related outcomes.
A cross-sectional survey with a mixed-mode response format (telephone interviewing or Internet). A disproportional stratified random sampling design was employed (N = 1877). Main measure was the 6-item gradient food security construct adapted from the US.
Prevalence of low and very low food security was 6.0% (95% CI:5.4–8.5%) and 2.4% (95% CI:1.3–3.3%), respectively. Prevalence was highest in households with disposable income below OECD’s poverty threshold, households receiving benefits or disability pensions, and single-parent households. After socio-demographic adjustment, adults from low/very low food secure households had a higher probability of eating an unhealthy diet (women: adj.RR 2.82 P < 0.001; men: adj.RR 2.15 P < 0.01). Adults from low/very low food secure households had lower life satisfaction (women: adj.RR 0.49, P < 0.05; men: adj.RR 0.09 P < 0.001) and higher risk of psychological distress (women: adj.RR 2.42 P < 0.05; men: adj.RR 8.95 P < 0.001). Obesity was more prevalent in low/very low food secure women (RR 2.44 P < 0.05), but not after socio-demographic adjustment.
Food insecurity in Denmark is associated with adverse factors such as unhealthy diet, obesity, life satisfaction, and psychological distress. It is important to widen food insecurity research to non-liberal welfare states since low/very low food security is negatively associated with unhealthy eating and other health indicators, even in a social-democratic welfare state.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)283-288
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 182887495