HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Access to Care and Health Outcomes Among Women Veterans Using Veterans Administration Health Care : Association With Food Insufficiency

Article

An article which examines the levels of food insecurity amongst male and female veterans of the Gulf Wars.

Abstract

Background Food insecurity has been associated with worse health outcomes in the civilian population. Male veterans of the Gulf Wars have been shown to have a higher prevalence of food insecurity than similarly situated civilians. Women veterans have more risk factors for food insecurity, relative to male veterans, yet little is known about the prevalence of food insecurity in this cohort. Methods We used the Women Veterans' Health Utilization and Experience Survey for this analysis. Our study population consisted of women veterans who had at least three primary care or women's health visits to 1 of 12 Veteran's Health Administration health care facilities from December 2013 to November 2014. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between food insufficiency (an inadequate amount of food intake owing to a lack of money or resources), delayed/missed care, anxiety, depression, and self-reported fair to poor health, controlling for race/ethnicity, marital status, and employment status. Results The prevalence of food insufficiency among women veterans was 27.6%. Being food insufficient was associated with 16.4, 15.4, 14.9, and 12.1 percentage point increases in the probability of delayed/missed care, screening positive for anxiety, screening positive for depression, and reporting fair to poor health, respectively (p < .05). Conclusions The prevalence of food insufficiency in this cohort was associated with delayed access to health care and worse health outcomes. Interventions addressing Veterans Administration access and health outcomes will need to examine the potential role of food insufficiency.

Full Reference

Narain, K., Bean-Mayberry, B., Washington, D., Canelo, I., Darling, J., Yano, E.