Social connectedness is associated with food security among peri-urban Peruvian Amazonian communities

Gwenyth O. Lee, Pamela J. Surkan, Jon Zelner, Maribel Paredes Olórtegui, Pablo Peñataro Yori, Ramya Ambikapathi, Laura E. Caulfield, Robert H. Gilman, Margaret N. Kosek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Food insecurity is a major global public health issue. Social capital has been identified as central to maintaining food security across a wide range of low- and middle-income country contexts, but few studies have examined this relationship through sociocentric network analysis. Objective: We investigated relationships between household- and community-level social connectedness, household food security, and household income; and tested the hypothesis that social connectedness modified the relationship between income and food security. Methods: A cross-sectional census with an embedded questionnaire to capture social relationships was conducted among eleven peri-urban communities. Community connectedness was related to study outcomes of food security and per-capita income through regression models. Results: Of 1520 households identified, 1383 were interviewed (91.0%) and 1272 (83.9%) provided complete data. Households in the youngest communities had the most total contacts, and the highest proportion of contacts outside of the community. Household income was also associated with more outside-community contacts (0.05 more contacts per standard deviation increase in income, p<0.001). Less food secure households reported more contacts nearby (0.24 increase in household food insecurity access scale (HFIAS) for each additional contact, p<0.001). After adjusting for household-level socioeconomic status, membership in an older, larger, and better-connected community, with a greater proportion of residents engaged in rural livelihood strategies, was associated with greater food security (-0.92 decrease in HFIAS for each one-unit increase in community mean degree, p=0.008). There was no evidence that social connectedness modified the relationship between income and food security such that lower-income households benefited more from community membership than higher-income households. Conclusions: Although households reported networks that spanned rural villages and urban centers, contacts within the community, with whom food was regularly shared, were most important to maintaining food security. Interventions that build within-community connectedness in peri-urban settings may increase food security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-262
Number of pages9
JournalSSM - Population Health
Volume4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Food security
  • Peru
  • Social capital
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Social connectedness is associated with food security among peri-urban Peruvian Amazonian communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this