Panel Paper: Food Insecurity, Food Store Choice, and Food Shopping Behaviors of Disabled U.S. Households

Saturday, March 10, 2018
Room 24 (Burkle Family Building at Claremont Graduate University)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Sarah Charnes, University of Washington

Disability is strongly associated with higher rates of household food insecurity (Balistreri, 2012; Coleman-Jensen and Nord, 2013). However, there is a lack of clear understanding as to why disabled households are more likely than able-bodied households to be food insecure when controlling for income (Anderson, Butcher, Hoynes, and Schanzenbach, 2014; Bartfeld, Gundersen, Smeeding, and Ziliak, 2015; Gundersen and Ziliak, 2014). Possible reasons include limitations in accessing food; difficulties in managing food resources; difficulties in preparing meals; the amount of time associated with the caretaking of disabled household members or managing one’s own disability; difficulty obtaining and maintaining employment; and higher healthcare costs as a share of household expenses (Coleman-Jensen and Nord, 2013; Gundersen and Ziliak, 2014).

Using household survey data from the National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS), this study will investigate the importance of both spatial and economic access to food as they pertain to the food insecurity status of disabled households versus able-bodied households. FoodAPS provides detailed information not only about disability status, food insecurity, and food shopping behaviors for a nationally representative sample of the U.S. and an oversample of low-income households, but also household characteristics that may shape the extent to which a household experiences food insecurity. Particularly important, FoodAPS contains information about different types of disability status and receipt of disability benefits across all members of the household, which will allow analyses to consider more textured definitions of disability in the context of food security.

Initial descriptive results pending review by the USDA suggest great variation in food experiences by different types of disability status. These insights will help identify ways that SNAP, SSI, and other forms of disability assistance and food and nutrition assistance programs can more effectively serve adults with disabilities, a highly vulnerable subpopulation that is not fully protected from food insecurity (Coleman-Jensen and Nord, 2013).