Relationship of Food Insecurity to Women's Dietary Outcomes: A Systematic Review
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Context: Food insecurity matters for women's nutrition and health. Objective: This review sought to comprehensively evaluate how food insecurity relates to a full range of dietary outcomes (food groups, total energy, macronutrients, micronutrients, and overall dietary quality) among adult women living in Canada and the United States. Data Sources: Peer-reviewed databases (PubMed/MEDLINE, CINAHL, Scopus, Web of Science) and gray literature sources from 1995 to 2016 were searched. Data Extraction: Observational studies were used to calculate a percentage difference in dietary intake for food-insecure and food-secure groups. Results: Of the 24 included studies, the majority found food-insecure women had lower food group frequencies (dairy, total fruits and vegetables, total grains, and meats/meat alternatives) and intakes of macro- and micronutrients relative to food-secure women. Methodological quality varied. Among high-quality studies, food insecurity was negatively associated with dairy, fruits and vegetables, grains, meats/meats alternatives, protein, total fat, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamins A and C, and folate. Conclusions: Results hold practical relevance for selecting nutritional targets in programs, particularly for nutrient-rich foods with iron and folate, which are more important for women’s health.