Food-Seeking Behaviors and Food Insecurity Risk During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Emma C. Lewis, Uriyoán Colón-Ramos, Joel Gittelsohn, Lauren Clay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Food insecurity risk increases among disaster-struck individuals. The authors employed the social determinants of health framework to (1) describe the characteristics and food-seeking behaviors of individuals coping with the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and (2) evaluate the relationship between these factors and food insecurity risk. Design: A cross-sectional Qualtrics survey was administered May 14–June 8, 2020. Participants: Adults living in New York were recruited online (n = 410). Main Outcome Measure: Food insecurity risk. Analysis: Logistic regression analyses were conducted using a model-building approach. Results: A total of 38.5% of the sample was considered food insecure after the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak. The final model revealed that not knowing where to find help to acquire food, reporting that more food assistance program benefits would be helpful, being an essential worker, having general anxiety, and being a college student were risk factors for food insecurity regardless of demographic characteristics. Conclusions and Implications: With more individuals experiencing food insecurity for the first time, there is a need for enhanced outreach and support. The findings complement emerging research on food insecurity risk during and after the pandemic and can help to inform food assistance programs and policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-171
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • COVID-19
  • food insecurity
  • food-seeking behavior
  • social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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