Home Science & Technology Women with disabilities report greater food insecurity

Women with disabilities report greater food insecurity


Women with disabilities are nearly twice as likely to rate their diet as poor and more likely to experience malnutrition compared to women without disabilities, according to a new study.

Nearly one in five women in the United States between the ages of 18 and 44 report having at least one disability related to hearing, vision, cognition, mobility, self-care, or independent living. However, there has been limited research on the diet of women with disability.

“Nutrition is key to preventing many chronic diseases. For women of childbearing age, a healthy diet can also contribute to good outcomes during and after pregnancy,” says Andrea Dierlein, associate professor of nutrition at NYU’s School of Global Public Health and lead author of the study in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“But healthy eating requires access to, or the ability to prepare, healthy food and resources, and women with disabilities may face barriers due to health conditions or physical limitations.”

To better understand the diet of these women, the researchers analyzed data from the 2013-2018 waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Researchers asked 3,579 women aged 18 to 44 about their food intake on a given day (which was calculated as a Diet Quality Score) and other diet-related factors, including food safety and participation in food assistance programs.

Women were also asked if they had a disability, which was defined as severe difficulty hearing, seeing, concentrating, walking, dressing, and/or completing errands due to a physical, mental, or emotional condition. Sixteen percent of respondents reported having a disability, and 6% reported having two or more disabilities.

Differences in women’s diet quality scores by disability status were small, except that women with two or more types of disability had slightly lower diet quality points related to their consumption of fruits and foods rich in protein, such as meat, nuts and seafood.

Compared to women without disabilities, women with disabilities were more likely to rate their nutrition as poor and report their food security as low or very low. They were also more likely to consume frozen foods and participate in food assistance programs.

Women with disabilities were also less likely to be the main person in their household responsible for meal planning, preparation and food shopping.

The researchers note that more research is needed, particularly research that examines the relationship between disability status and social determinants of health, such as the food environment, housing conditions, and social support that influence food storage and preparation, to identify potential areas for intervention among all people. . with disabilities.

“More information about the diets of women with disabilities will help us better assess this population’s diet quality and nutrient intake, identify barriers to dietary improvement, and develop tailored nutrition programs and policies to reduce health disparities,” Dyerlein says.

Additional co-authors from NYU. The work was funded by the Challenge Research Fund program of New York University.

Source: NYU

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