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This article is the author's final published version in BMC Public Health, Volume 23, Issue 1, 2023, Article number 1323.

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2023.

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BACKGROUND: Over the past decade, the prevalence of food insecurity declined in the United States but curiously climbed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a sizable metropolitan area where many households experience food insecurity and are dependent on programs like SNAP. Therefore, we aimed to determine the burden of food insecurity among populations near Philadelphia Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) clinic sites.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted in North Philadelphia, a populous and impoverished section of Philadelphia with many zip codes reporting 30-45% or more of the population below the federal poverty line. Students and clinicians affiliated with a local FQHC conducted surveys on residents (n = 379) within 1-mile radiuses of three FQHC sites, using the Hunger Vital Sign™, a validated food security tool. Survey data were collected through door-to-door visits in the summer of 2019. We used simple, age-adjusted bivariable, and multivariable logistic regression models to predict food insecurity with independent variables, including age, sex, language preference, and BMI category.

RESULTS: Food insecurity in North Philadelphia was much higher (36.9%) than previously reported in Philadelphia and nationwide. Food insecurity was inversely associated with age (AOR = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.97, 1.00), overweight (AOR = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.32, 1.06), and obesity (AOR = 0.60, 95% CI: 0.33, 1.09).

CONCLUSION: In North Philadelphia, the burden of food insecurity is higher than in the greater Philadelphia area, Pennsylvania state, and the rest of the nation and is predicted by age and BMI of residents. These findings demonstrate a need for more locally targeted research and interventions on food insecurity in impoverished urban settings.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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