Food Security and Child Hunger among Refugees Recently Resettled in the USA

Craig A. Hadley, Brown University
Daniel Sellen, University of Toronto

The United States will accept thousands of new African refugees for resettlement this year. How these refugees cope in this new environment is an understudied area, yet one that has important implications for both policy and population health. Ethnographic and survey methods were used to address this issue among a sample of African refugees living in the USA. Results show a high prevalence of food insecurity and child hunger among this sample of African refugees, much higher than national or state figures or the prevalence identified in similar studies among low-income immigrants. Further, child hunger was more likely to be indicated among mothers who experienced language and shopping difficulties in the new environment and who reported low levels of income. Measures of social support however were not related to child hunger. Conclusions are that poverty combined with cultural food preferences may predispose to high levels of child hunger.

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Presented in Session 11: Acculturation and Health