UMass Worcester PRC Presentations

UMMS Affiliation

UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center; Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavioral Medicine | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Cardiovascular Diseases | Community Health | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Food Security | Preventive Medicine | Race and Ethnicity


Background: Food insecurity has been consistently associated with CVD risk factors (i.e., obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia). Consumption of fruits and vegetables may reduce CVD risk factors among food insecure Latinos.

Objective: To examine the potential moderating effect of fruit and vegetable intake in the association between food insecurity and CVD risk factors in a sample of Latino men and women in the northeast U.S.

Methods: A representative community sample of Latino individuals was recruited from a community health center in Lawrence, MA. Food insecurity was measured with the 6-item USDA Household Food Security Scale. Fruit and vegetable intake, was measured with Block’s Fruit and Vegetable Screener. CVD risk factors examined included: obesity assessed by body mass index (BMI), and diagnoses of type 2 diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia abstracted from electronic health records. Covariates considered included: age, gender, education and BMI (except in the obesity model). Statistical analyses included multivariable logistic regression testing for interaction between food insecurity and diet.

Results: Overall, 51% of the sample were women and most self-identified as Dominicans (73%). Thirty-one percent of the sample experienced food insecurity and 79% consumed less than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Twenty percent of food secure participants and 23% of food insecure individuals consumed 5 servings or more of fruits and vegetables per day (p=0.439). In adjusted models, food insecurity was positively associated with type 2 diabetes in individuals consuming less than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (OR=1.79; 95% CI=1.11–2.89) but not in individuals consuming 5 servings or more of fruits and vegetables per day. Interaction analyses showed that these estimates were significantly different from each other (p=0.04).

Conclusion: Among those who were food insecure, low consumption of fruits and vegetables, was associated with type 2 diabetes in this Latino sample. Studies are needed to confirm our findings. Further, longitudinal studies are needed to understand a potential causal relationship. Interventions to increase availability of fruits and vegetables among food insecure Latinos may help alleviate diabetes disparities in this vulnerable group.


Food insecurity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Latinos

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DOI of Published Version



2018 Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting

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2018 Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting