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Introduction: The consequences of food insecurity at the household level are categorized into three areas: physical impairments, psychological suffering, and socio-familial perturbations. This study examined the relationship between household food insecurity and functional health status among mothers in a rural sample in Malaysia.
Method: A cross-sectional survey of low-income households was conducted. A total of 223 mothers aged 18 years to 55 years old who are neither lactating nor pregnant were purposively selected. This study employed a pre-tested questionnaire consisting of socio-demographic questions, the 10-item Radimer/Cornell hunger scale, and the Medical Outcome Study Short Form-36 (SF-36).
Results: Household food insecurity was reported by 83.9% of respondents. The data suggest that child hunger category is associated with poor health status on each scale in the SF-36 instrument, whereas household food insecurity and adult food insecurity are associated with six scales in the instrument. No significant differences in health status were observed among the various levels of food insecurity (i.e., household food insecurity, adult food insecurity, and child hunger). After adjusting for sociodemographic variables using multiple regression analysis, food insecurity remains a significant independent predictor of responses for each SF-36 scale.
Conclusion: An association between food security and health status is suggested in the convenience sample of this paper. However, future investigations are needed to examine the relationship between more objective measures of health status, household food inventories, and other direct measures of food availability in more diverse and larger populations.
food insecurity, quality of life, Bachok