Food Insecurity and Obesity Among American Indians and Alaska Natives and Whites in California

Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, Eva Garroutte, Elizabeth M. Krantz, Dedra Buchwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Food insecurity is linked to obesity among some, but not all, racial and ethnic populations. We examined the prevalence of food insecurity and the association between food insecurity and obesity among American Indians (AIs) and Alaska Natives (ANs) and a comparison group of whites. Using the 2009 California Health Interview Survey, we analyzed responses from 592 AIs/ANs and 7371 white adults with household incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Food insecurity was measured using a standard 6-item scale. Sociodemographics, exercise, and obesity were all obtained using self-reported survey data. Logistic regression was used to estimate associations. The prevalence of food insecurity was similar among AIs/ANs and whites (38.7% vs 39.3%). Food insecurity was not associated with obesity in either group in analyses adjusted for sociodemographics and exercise. The ability to afford high-quality foods is extremely limited for low-income Californians regardless of race. Health policy discussions must include increased attention on healthy food access among the poor, including AIs/ANs, for whom little data exist. [Supplemental materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition to view the free supplemental file: Supplemental Tables.doc.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-471
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • American Indians
  • food insecurity
  • Native Americans
  • obesity


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