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Food-Insecure Women Eat a Less Diverse Diet in a More Temporally Variable Way: Evidence from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2013-4

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Daniel Nettle, Professor Melissa BatesonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2019 Daniel Nettle and Melissa Bateson.Food insecurity is associated with high body weight amongst women, but not men, in high-income countries. Previous research using food recalls suggests that the total energy intake of food-insecure women is not elevated, though macronutrient composition may differ from that of food-secure women. There is limited evidence on temporal patterns of food consumption. Here, we used food recalls from women in the 2013-4 cycle of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, n = 2798) to characterise temporal patterns of food consumption in relation to food insecurity. Compared to the food-secure, food-insecure women had more variable time gaps between eating; ate a smaller and less variable number of distinct foods at a time; were more variable from day to day in their time of first consumption; were more variable from day to day in the number of times they ate; and consumed relatively more carbohydrate, less protein, and less fibre. However, their overall energy intake was no higher. Food-insecure women had higher BMIs (2.25 kg/m2), and around 15% of the BMI difference between food-insecure and food-secure women was accounted for by their more variable time gaps between eating, their lower diversity of foods, and their lower fibre consumption. Food insecurity is associated with measureable differences in the temporal pattern of food consumption, and some of these differences shed light on how food-insecure women come to have higher body weights.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nettle D, Bateson M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Obesity

Year: 2019

Volume: 2019

Online publication date: 01/10/2019

Acceptance date: 07/09/2019

Date deposited: 28/10/2019

ISSN (print): 2090-0708

ISSN (electronic): 2090-0716

Publisher: Hindawi Limited


DOI: 10.1155/2019/7174058


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