A population-based study of the association between food insecurity and preventable hospitalization among persons with diabetes using linked survey and administrative data
Authors: Neeru Gupta and Zihao Sheng
Background Studies have found food insecurity to be more prevalent among persons with diabetes mellitus. Other research using areal-based measures of socioeconomic status have pointed to a social gradient in diabetes hospitalizations, but without accounting for individuals’ health status. Linking person-level data from health surveys to population-based hospital records enables profiling of the role of food insecurity with hospital morbidity, focusing on the high-risk diabetic population. Objective This national study aims to assess the association between income-related household food insecurity and potentially avoidable hospital admissions among community-dwelling persons living with diagnosed diabetes. Methods We use three cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey (2007, 2008, and 2011) linked to multiple years of hospital records from the Discharge Abstract Database (2005/06 to 2012/13), covering 12 of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories. We apply multiple logistic regression for testing the association of household food insecurity with the risk of hospitalization for diabetes and common comorbid ambulatory care sensitive conditions among persons aged 12 and over living with diabetes. Analysis Data linkage allowed us to analyze inpatient hospital records among 10,260 survey respondents with diabetes; 590 respondents had been hospitalized at least once for diabetes or a common comorbid chronic physical or mental illness. The regression results indicated that the odds of experiencing a preventable hospital admission were significantly higher among persons with diabetes who were food insecure compared to their counterparts who were food secure (OR=1.66 [95%CI=1.24-2.23]), after controlling for age, sex and other characteristics. Conclusion We found food insecurity to significantly increase the odds of hospital admission for ambulatory care sensitive conditions among Canadians living with diabetes. These results reinforce the need to consider food insecurity in public health and clinical strategies to reduce the hospital burden of diabetes and other nutrition-related chronic diseases, from primary prevention to post-discharge care.
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