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Prevalence of food insecurity and association with mental health in an indigenous population in Panamá. Public Health Nutr 2021 Dec;24(17):5869-5876

Date

08/20/2021

Pubmed ID

34407903

DOI

10.1017/S1368980021003554

Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85113835767

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Understanding food insecurity and its health consequences is important for identifying strategies to best target support for individuals and communities. Given the limited information that exists for indigenous groups in Latin America, this study aimed to understand the association between food insecurity and mental health in an indigenous population in Panama.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional data were collected using a survey conducted with Kuna Indians residing off the coast of Panama. Data sources included measures from the Panamanian prevalence of risk factors associated with CVD survey, and validated measures for psychosocial factors and standardised health outcome measures. Regression models with each of the mental health outcomes (depression, serious psychological distress, perceived stress) were used to examine the association between food insecurity and mental health outcomes.

SETTING: Indigenous Kuna community residing on the San Blas Islands of Panama.

PARTICIPANTS: Two-hundred nine adults.

RESULTS: Food insecurity was reported by 83 % of the participants. Across demographic categories, the only significant difference was by age with higher prevalence in younger ages. After adjusting for demographics, higher food insecurity was significantly associated with higher number of depressive symptoms and more serious psychological distress, but not with levels of perceived stress.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on these findings, treatment for mental health in the Kuna community may need to account for social determinants of health and be tailored to meet the needs of younger age groups in this population. In addition, interventions designed to decrease food insecurity should be considered as a possible means for improving mental health.

Author List

Walker RJ, Dawson AZ, Campbell JA, Egede LE

Authors

Jennifer Annette Campbell PhD, MPH Assistant Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Aprill Z. Dawson PhD, MPH Assistant Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Leonard E. Egede MD Center Director, Chief, Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Rebekah Walker PhD Associate Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin




MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Adult
Cross-Sectional Studies
Food Supply
Humans
Mental Health
Prevalence