The association of food insecurity with health outcomes for adults with disabilities

Debra L. Brucker, MPA, PhD

Disability and Health JournalVol. 10Issue 2p286–293



Adults with disabilities are more likely to live in households that are food insecure and are more likely to experience health disparities than adults without disabilities. Research examining the intersection of food insecurity and health outcomes for adults with disabilities has so far been lacking, however.


The research presented here tests whether living in a food insecure household is associated with poorer self-reported health and mental health and different health care utilization, controlling for disability status and other sociodemographic characteristics.


Multivariate regression analyses are conducted using linked data from the 2011 National Health Interview Survey and the 2012 Medical Expenditures Panel Survey.


Adults with and without disabilities who live in food insecure households have higher odds of reporting fair or poor health or mental health in either the current year or the subsequent year. Health care utilization patterns differ for adults who are food insecure as well, both within and across years.


Efforts to address health disparities among adults with disabilities should consider the possible additional impact of food insecurity on health outcomes.