Authors’ Note: Robert B. Nielsen, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Housing and Consumer Economics at University of Georgia. Steven Garasky, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Iowa State University. Swarn Chatterjee, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Housing and Consumer Economics at University of Georgia. Please address correspondence to Robert B. Nielsen, Department of Housing and Consumer Economics, University of Georgia, 205 Consumer Research Center (House C), Athens, GA 30602; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food Insecurity and Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenditures: Competing Basic Needs?
Article first published online: 16 NOV 2010
© 2010 American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal
Volume 39, Issue 2, pages 137–151, December 2010
How to Cite
Nielsen, R. B., Garasky, S. and Chatterjee, S. (2010), Food Insecurity and Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenditures: Competing Basic Needs?. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 39: 137–151. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-3934.2010.02052.x
- Issue published online: 16 NOV 2010
- Article first published online: 16 NOV 2010
- medical expenditures;
- food insecurity;
- food consumption;
- health insurance
Resource-constrained families face difficult choices when attempting to meet their basic needs and enhance their health and wellness. This research investigated the relationship between a family’s efforts to access enough food and pay their medical bills through an examination of data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. The data provided information on out-of-pocket medical expenditures and responses to an abbreviated version of the U.S. Department of Agriculture food insecurity module for nearly 50,000 people in more than 16,000 U.S. families. A two-stage probit-least squares procedure accounted for the endogeneity of food and medical care expenditures, providing insight into the decisions that families make when allocating resources to food and medical care. The results indicated that the probability of experiencing food insecurity increased as out-of-pocket medical expenditures increased. Notably, there was no evidence for the reverse relationship—food security status did not affect medical expenditures. The results suggest that programs that seek to help families reduce out-of-pocket medical costs may indirectly improve access to food and nutrition.