Introduction Increasing numbers of US residents rely on informal caregiving from friends and family members. Caregiving can have substantial health and financial impacts on caregivers. This study addressed whether those impacts include adverse nutritional states. Specifically, we examined household food insecurity, individual hunger, and obesity among caregivers compared with noncaregivers. Methods We analyzed 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from Oregon. The Caregiving Module was administered to a random subset of 2,872 respondents. Module respondents included 2,278 noncaregivers and 594 caregivers providing care or assistance to a friend or family member with a health problem or disability. We used multivariable logistic regression to assess associations between caregiving status and each of our dependent variables. Results Caregivers had significantly greater odds of reporting household food insecurity (odds ratio [OR] = 2.10, P = .003) and personal hunger (OR = 2.89, P = .002), even after controlling for income and other correlates of food insecurity. There were no significant differences in obesity between caregivers and noncaregivers. Conclusion Caregiving is associated with increased risk of food insecurity and hunger in Oregon, suggesting that careful attention to the nutritional profile of households with family caregivers is needed in this population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health