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Hunger and health among undocumented Mexican migrants in a US urban area

  • Craig Hadley (a1), Sandro Galea (a1), Vijay Nandi (a2), Arijit Nandi (a3), Gerald Lopez (a4), Stacey Strongarone (a4) and Danielle Ompad (a2)...

Abstract

Objectives

To measure the occurrence and correlates of hunger and to evaluate the association between hunger and three health indicators among undocumented Mexican immigrants.

Design

Non-probability cross-sectional sample.

Setting

Neighbourhoods within New York City.

Subjects

Four hundred and thirty-one undocumented Mexican immigrants living in the USA.

Results

Hunger was indicated by approximately 28% of respondents. In a multivariate model, working as a day labourer was associated with hunger (odds ratio (OR) 3.33, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.83–6.06) while receiving public assistance protected against hunger (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.06–0.88). In multivariate models, respondents who reported experiencing hunger also reported poorer overall health (OR 1.69, 95% CI 0.95–3.02) and more days of poor mental (P = 0.045) and physical health (P < 0.0001). Greater amount of time lived in the USA was also associated with worse overall health (P = 0.054) and more days of poor mental and physical health (P < 0.01).

Conclusions

The present study shows that food insecurity and hunger may be problems among undocumented migrants living in the USA. Uncertain and unpredictable work schedules and limited access to public assistance may contribute to high levels of hunger, which in turn may also negatively affect mental and physical health. Increasing amount of time lived in the USA is also associated with poorer health indicators. Programmes that provide undocumented migrants with emergency access to resources may reduce food insecurity and lead to improved health outcomes among this vulnerable population.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Corresponding author: Email Chadley@umich.edu

References

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Keywords

Hunger and health among undocumented Mexican migrants in a US urban area

  • Craig Hadley (a1), Sandro Galea (a1), Vijay Nandi (a2), Arijit Nandi (a3), Gerald Lopez (a4), Stacey Strongarone (a4) and Danielle Ompad (a2)...

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