Food acquisition practices used by food-insecure individuals when they are concerned about having sufficient food for themselves and their households
Food-insecure individuals' food acquisition practices can result in inadequate nutrition, consumption of unsafe foods, and risky behaviors. A survey instrument was developed to collect sociodemographic information and frequency of engagement in different practices. After expert review, cognitive interviewing and pretesting, data were collected from 10 individuals/site at 50 emergency food providers. Descriptive analysis was performed and prevalence of each practice was ascertained for 3 time periods. Participants confirmed use of 78 practices with 50% using 19. Sixty-three percent posed a potential risk, including eating road kill, going to prison to obtain meals, and diluting foods (like baby formula) to extend them. Prevalence and riskiness of practices used by the food-insecure can inform policy and public health decisions regarding issues of food insecurity.