Food insufficiency and the physical and mental health of low-income women

K. Siefert, C. M. Heflin, M. E. Corcoran, D. R. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


Poor women with children are disproportionately represented among the food insufficient. Recent research has linked food insufficiency with dietary deficiencies, but further research linking this problem to health and mental health problems is needed to inform health and social policy. We analyzed the relationship between food insufficiency and physical and mental health in a random sample of 724 single women who were welfare recipients in February, 1997. Food insufficiency was significantly associated with poor or fair self-rated health and physical limitations, and with respondents' meeting DSM-III-R criteria for recent major depression. Although the cross-sectional design of this study precludes causal inference, these findings add to a growing body of evidence that food insufficiency is associated with serious adverse physical and mental health consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-177
Number of pages19
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Food insufficiency
  • Health status
  • Poverty
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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