News & Events

E4A Grantee Sandi Pruitt Presents at APHA

November 1, 2016

Title: Food insecurity and health: Development and initial findings of a community research collaboration
Date: Tuesday, November 1st
Time: 10:30am - 10:41am CDT

Authors:

Sandi Pruitt, PhD
University of Texas Northwestern Medical Center

Tammy Leonard, PhD
University of Dallas

Richard Amory
North Texas Food Bank

Jay Cole
Crossroads Community Services

Background

Food insecurity affects 1 in 7 US households. Food insecure populations experience disproportionately poor health. The food assistance, public health, and academic research sectors face a shared challenge to identify the most efficacious policy and intervention targets in order to improve food security and health. High-quality data are needed to inform such decision-making. However, limited research capacity, data availability, and data sharing hinder these efforts. Methods. Community Assistance Research (CARe) is a community research partnership in Dallas County, Texas comprising the regional food bank, the region's largest food distributor, and transdisciplinary academic researchers. CARe supports a novel, community-owned research resource, the Hunger Center Longitudinal Database (HCLD), consisting of longitudinal observations of food distribution center clients. Qualitative inquiries informed the incorporation of health assessments into the HCLD. Results. To date, 5,621 adults across 3,442 households have data archived in the HCLD. In all, 7.7% of households face marginal, 28.5% low, and 52% very low food security. Across men and women, 29.6% are overweight and 55.1% are obese. Of all, 35.0% report fair and 7.4% poor self-rated health. Discussion. We discuss key findings from the HCLD and lessons learned about implementing and sustaining a community research partnership. We describe how a collaboratively-generated, maintained, and shared data source (that is not tied to a single funding stream or project partner) can be leveraged across multiple sectors for process and outcome monitoring, quality improvement, population characterization, research, and for policy and intervention development across the intersections of food insecurity and health.