BMJ open

Food insecurity among Dutch food bank recipients: a cross-sectional study.

PMID 24838723


To determine the prevalence of (very) low food security among Dutch food bank recipients, and to identify potential demographic, lifestyle and nutrition-related factors associated with (very) low food security. 11 of 135 Dutch food banks were selected throughout the Netherlands. 251 Dutch food bank recipients participated in the study (93 men and 158 women). Inclusion criteria for participation were: (1) at least 18 years of age, (2) sufficiently fluent in Dutch to participate in oral and written interviews, (3) recipient of a Dutch food bank for at least 1 month and (4) collect own food parcel at the food bank. A single member per household was included. Level of food security. The prevalence of food insecurity was 72.9% (N=183), of which 40.4% (N=74) reported very low food security. Of the very low food secure participants, 56.8% (N=42) reported they were ever hungry but did not eat because they could not afford enough food in the previous 3 months. Adjusted multinomial logistic regression analyses showed that households without children were less likely to experience low food security (OR 0.39 (95% CI 0.18 to 0.88)) and men (OR 0.24 (95% CI 0.11 to 0.51)) were less likely to experience very low food security, while low-educated recipients (OR 5.05 (95% CI 1.37 to 18.61)) were more likely to experience very low food security. Furthermore, recipients with high satisfaction with overall food intake (OR 0.46 (95% CI 0.27 to 0.78)), high perceived healthiness of overall food intake (OR 0.34 (95% CI 0.19 to 0.62)) or high self-efficacy of eating healthy (OR 0.62 (95% CI 0.40 to 0.96)) were less likely to experience very low food security. Our study showed high prevalence rates of food insecurity among Dutch food bank recipients, and identified subgroups at increased risk of food insecurity. More research is urgently needed on the underlying determinants of food insecurity and the effectiveness of food assistance by food banks.

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