Food Insecurity and Women’s Health in Canada: Does Northern and Southern Ontario Residency Matter?

In the last decade, a massive body of research on food insecurity and health among women has emerged in various disciplines, including nursing, social work, psychology, and health geography. This article deploys an intersectional lens to identify successful coping mechanisms and the development of resilience in women living in poverty, linking food insecurity with geography, coping strategies, and health. A review of the literature reveals that, despite increasing interest in the health implications of food insecurity across multiple health and social disciplines, little is known about women’s food insecurity in different geographical contexts. This study addresses this gap in knowledge by exploring women’s experiences of food insecurity and the perceived impacts on their physical and mental health in the city of Greater Sudbury in Northern Ontario and the city of London in Southern Ontario, Canada. A purposive sampling technique was used to recruit twenty women from sites where services are provided to poor and/or homeless women. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted, audio-recorded, and transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were subjected to thematic analysis using NVIVO 11 software. The themes that emerged are congruent with the selected theoretical framework (intersectionality). The key themes identified include food and financial hardship (e.g., food availability, accessibility, and quality; food prices; income and rent), motherhood (e.g., feeding children first), resourcefulness (e.g., food skipping and food stretching) and health perception (e.g., physical health, mental health). The study’s findings have implications for the development of strengths-based and community-based interventions targeting women experiencing food insecurity.

Examining Heterogeneity of Social Support among Asian and Latino Immigrants in the United States: A Latent Class Analysis

Stressors stemming from the migration experience may exacerbate underlying health concerns or initiate new problems, placing immigrants at risk for decreased wellbeing. Social relationships have robust benefits for physical and mental health; however, social networks may be interrupted during migration, leaving immigrants without usual sources of support. Whether migrants develop new social ties and what types of social resources they access post-migration may influence health outcomes. This study examines the variety of social support experiences and whether there are unique differences in support patterns between immigrants and US-born. We argue these differences are integral to health promotion efforts. Drawing on data from the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) (n = 4639), we use latent class analysis (LCA) and multinomial logistic regression to explore unique patterns and predictors of social support from family, friends, and co-religionists. Results indicate six unique patterns of social support: High Support (26%), Family and Peer-Connected (24%), Family-Centered (23%), Low Support (11%), Friend-Centered (9%), and Religious (8%). Immigrant status is predictive of membership in the Low Support, Religious, and Family-Centered subgroups. Immigrants are less likely than US-born to access support from all sources other than implicit support from co-religionists. Findings lend empirical support from a nationally representative study to the notion that migration may disrupt usual sources of support and influence subsequent support network composition and draw attention to the potential health consequences for immigrants without strong social relationships. Implications highlight the need for social support-building efforts in new and established immigrant communities.

The Environmental Barriers to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity among Caregivers of Obese Children Living in New York City Public Housing

The United States is in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic. However, there is a dearth of literature on the health outcomes of children living in public housing developments and specifically children from racial and ethnic minorities. Thus, this study aimed to assess family and community-level factors contributing to childhood obesity among a sample of racial and ethnic minority low-income families residing in public housing. We interviewed a sample (n = 15) of predominantly racial/ethnic minority low-income housing residents in New York City (NYC) who were caring for an obese/overweight child at the time of the study. The urban setting of New York City offered a unique lens to the issue of childhood obesity and its complex causes. The results from this study indicated that the costs of living in gentrified neighborhoods, proximity to supermarkets, unmaintained play areas, and high-crime posed barriers to caregivers attempting to provide children with a health-promoting environment in public housing. These findings add to the growing literature on childhood obesity disparities and can potentially lend themselves to future research and the development of tailored interventions.