Sociodemographic and health factors associated with vulnerability to food insecurity in social assistance recipients
Authors: Yiwen Liu
While recipients of social assistance have been consistently identified as highly vulnerable to food insecurity, there is still variation in food security status among this population. Our objective was to examine how provincial social assistance policies, recipients’ socio-demographic characteristics, and their chronic disease status relate to their food security status. We used logistic regression models to determine these relationships in a sample of single social assistance adults in the 2011-2012 Canadian Community Health Survey.The odds of food insecurity were higher in Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan compared to Ontario, controlling for socio-demographic factors. Homeowners and respondents with higher incomes appeared to have lower odds of food insecurity. Independent of these effects, having 2 or more chronic conditions, hypertension, or a mental health condition indicated an increased vulnerability. These findings suggest that the needs of social assistance recipients, particularly those chronically ill, are not being adequately met through current benefit structures in order to maintain food security.
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