Document Type

Service Learning/Capstone Experience

Graduation Date

12-2017

Degree Name

Master of Public Health

Department

Health Promotion

First Committee Member

Dr. Courtney Pinard

Second Committee Member

Dr. Martha Goedert

Third Committee Member

Dr. Lynette Smith

Fourth Committee Member

Mr. Charles Peterson

Abstract

Food insecurity is defined as a lack of access to “sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets individuals’ dietary needs and preferences for an active and healthy life.” From 2015 to 2016, the number of people undernourished increased from 777 million to 815 million worldwide. Food insecurity affected 12.3 % of Nebraskans and 13.8% of the residents in Douglas County during the same year. There is evidence of associations between food insecurity, income level, and several adverse health outcomes, specifically with regards to mental health. The objective of this study was to examine food security, SNAP benefit duration (i.e., how long SNAP benefits last each month), income level and the relationship with depression in households with children and create a geographical representation of the challenges associated with food insecurity in Omaha (food insecurity, food desert, and zip-codes of survey participants). For this study, we used the data collected by ‘Feeding America” on food insecurity rate in Douglas County as well as USDA data on food desert in Douglas County. We also used the data collected as part of a baseline evaluation of a community-based initiative to address hunger and food insecurity in Omaha in 2014 by the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition. The GIS mapping was done using ArcGIS, and SPSS 25 was utilized to conduct statistical analysis: Chi-square test and a binary logistics regression to analyze the association between the food security, SNAP benefit duration, income levels, and depression. It was revealed that the eastern region of Douglas county was the most affected by food desert and food insecurity, especially North Omaha. In addition, the un-adjusted odds of experiencing medium to high depression were 3 times higher for participants living in low and very low food secure households compared with those living in high food secure households (OR=2.9 CI=1.5-5.1 p

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