In this study, we show how household health, economic instability, and food insecurity are inextricably linked and how disruptions in individual health or income create cumulative and interdependent challenges faced by multiple household members. Drawing upon semistructured focus groups with English- and Spanish-speaking clients of an urban food pantry, we demonstrate: (1) the impact of economic scarcity on health, (2) the impact of one household member's health on the health and food security of all household members, and (3) food-sharing behaviors among family and social networks, including multigenerational families and nonkin individuals. We identify the gap in the literature between household-level assessments of food insecurity and individual-level health reports, which may obscure poor health among other household members. Understanding the social and family context of health and food insecurity may inform future interventions that address the interrelated challenges of diverse and disadvantaged households and communities.
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