Do our patients have enough to eat? Food insecurity among urban low-income cancer patients

Francesca Gany, Trevor Lee, Julia Ramirez, Dana Massie, Alyssa Moran, Michael Crist, Thelma McNish, Gary Winkel, Jennifer C.F. Leng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study assessed the prevalence and predictors of food insecurity among a cohort of underserved oncology patients at New York City cancer clinics. A demographic survey and the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module were administered. A multivariate General Linear Model Analysis of Covariance was used to evaluate predictors of food insecurity. Four hundred and four (404) completed the surveys. Nearly one-fifth (18%) had very low, 38% low, 17% marginal, and 27% high food security. The Analysis of Covariance was statistically significant (F[7, 370] = 19.08; p <.0001; R-Square = 0.26). Younger age, Spanish language, poor health care access, and having less money for food since beginning cancer treatment were significantly associated with greater food insecurity. This cohort of underserved cancer patients had rates of food insecurity nearly five times those of the state average. More research is needed to understand better the causes and impact of food insecurity among cancer and chronic disease patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1153-1168
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer patients
  • Food insecurity
  • Low-income
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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