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Evaluating the relationship between urban environment and food security in Georgia's older population

Shannon, Jerry, Lee, Jung Sun, Holloway, Steven R., Brown, Arvine, Bell, Jennifer
Applied geography 2015 v.60 pp. 224-229
USDA, census data, elderly, food deserts, food security, geography, information management, regression analysis, rural areas, social environment, urban areas, Georgia
While food insecurity in older adults is closely linked to economic circumstances and functional limitations, research has shown that the physical and social environment can have a significant influence on food insecurity (Carter, Dubois, & Tremblay, 2014). This paper reports on an ongoing research collaboration with Georgia's Division of Aging Services (DAS) and the University of Georgia. We used data from the Georgia Aging Information Management System (AIMS), which manages information on current or waitlisted clients in the state's aging services and programs (n = 38,812). We geocoded this data and added residence in a USDA defined food desert and whether the place of residence was in a rural area, urban cluster, new suburb, post-war suburb, or core urban area. The latter classification is a new measure developed from historic census data and is the main focus of this paper. We explored the relationships of these variables to rates of food insecurity through descriptive statistics and a logistic regression model. Our analysis showed a modest but significant positive relationship between food insecurity and residence in core urban areas (OR 1.27, 95% CI:1.17–1.38) and urban clusters (OR: 1.15, 95% CI: 1.08–1.23).