Family and Social Context Contributes to the Interplay of Economic Insecurity, Food Insecurity, and Health

Robin T. Higashi, Simon Craddock Lee, Carla Pezzia, Lisa Quirk, Tammy Leonard, Sandi L. Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-77
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Anthropological Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

Cite this