Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Aging and Chronic Disease, Obesity
This study aims to explore the relationships between different types of social support (SS) and food insecurity (FI) and to describe potential differences in these relationships across countries and demographic characteristics.
The 2017 Gallup World Poll (GWP) dataset, comprised of nationally representative samples of adult individuals in 142 countries (n = 146,175), included the eight-question Food Insecurity Experience Scale module, as well as four questions referring to perceived, received, integrative, and given SS. FI was defined as reporting at least four experiences of constrained food access over the past year. Descriptive analysis was used to characterize individuals with each type of SS, while country-level univariable and multi-variable logistic regression analyses were performed, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic indicators. Meta-analyses accounting for country-level random effects were applied to estimate the pooled odds ratios across countries. The I2was calculated to quantify inconsistency of associations across countries.
Results : In the pooled global sample, the weighted proportions reporting perceived, received, integrative, and given SS, were 77.0%, 19.4%, 78.6% and 17.8%, respectively. Compared to those without each type of SS, the pooled odds of FI were significantly lower for those with perceived (OR = 0.56 (0.52, 0.59), I2= 51.5%) and integrative SS (OR = 0.74 (0.70, 0.78), I2= 39.9%), and higher for those who received SS (OR = 1.44 (1.30, 1.59), I2= 81.9%). Given SS was not associated with FI (OR=0.95 (0.88, 1.04), I2= 72.4%).
Conclusions : Both perceived and integrative SS were inversely associated with FI, while received SS was positively associated with FI, confirming trends revealed in earlier years of the GWP. Country-level analyses revealing heterogeneity in terms of the magnitude and/or direction of these associations provide evidence that the role of SS in food access may differ across contexts.
Funding Sources : GWP data access was granted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization through a competitive call for proposals.