Food Hardship and Obesity in a Sample of Low-Income Immigrants

Caitlin E. Caspi, Reginald D. Tucker-Seeley, Gary Adamkiewicz, Christina A. Roberto, Anne M. Stoddard, Glorian C. Sorensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Very little work has examined the relationship between food hardship (having inconsistent financial resources to buy food) and obesity among immigrant groups. A cross-sectional study was conducted in a low-income, multi-racial/ethnic adult sample in greater Boston, MA (n = 828). Modified Poisson regression models estimated the association between food hardship obesity (BMI ≥ 30) among adults reporting food hardship; interactions were tested by place of birth. Body mass index (BMI) was based on anthropometric height and weight. In adjusted models, those experiencing food hardship were more likely to be obese (RR 1.17, CI 1.07, 1.29) than those not experiencing food hardship. Participants from Haiti reporting food hardship were more likely to be obese than those not reporting hardship (RR 1.58, CI 1.23, 2.04); this was not the case among other groups (US born, Puerto Rican, Latin American, Other). The relationship between food hardship and weight may vary among immigrant subgroups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-137
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the research participants and the Cambridge, Somerville and Chelsea Public Housing Authorities. The authors also thank Marty Alvarez-Reeves, Ruth Lederman, Samuel Lipson, Carol Lowenstein, Brianna Wadler, May Yang and Lorraine Wallace for their contributions to the study design and implementation. This research was supported by the National Cancer Institutes, grant numbers R01 CA111310-01A (GS), R25 CA057713 (CEC), R25 CA163184 (CEC), K01 CA169041(RTS), K05 CA108663 (GS), and by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program (CAR). The National Cancer Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation had no role in the design, analysis or writing of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Food insecurity
  • Hardship
  • Immigrant
  • Obesity


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