The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship among socioeconomic status, social support, and food insecurity in a rural Kenyan island community. A cross-sectional random sample of 111 female heads of households representing 583 household members were surveyed in Mfangano Island, Kenya from August to October 2010 using adaptations of the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale and the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey. In multiple linear regression models, less instrumental social support, defined as concrete direct ways people help others (B = –0.81; 95% confidence interval [CI] –1.45 to –0.17), and decreased ownership scale based on owning material assets (B = –2.93; 95% CI –4.99 to –0.86) were significantly associated with increased food insecurity, controlling for age, education, marital status, and household size. Social support interventions geared at group capacity and resilience may be crucial adjuncts to improve and maintain the long term food security and health of persons living in low-resource regions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by grant 5R25TW7512-3 (to JMN, KJF, CRS, MDH) and R01 MH095683 (to SDW) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/Fogarty International Center as well as a Dean’s Research Fellowship from the University of California, San Francisco (to JMN).
- food security
- global health
- social network
- social support
- socioeconomic status