Assessment of Food Insecurity Amongst HSC Patients Using the Hunger Vital Signs Screening Tool

dc.creatorBrooks, Kateen_US
dc.creatorBui, Priyaen_US
dc.creatorGarcia, Joannaen_US
dc.description.abstractPurpose: The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity (FI) as “lack of consistent access to enough healthy food for an active healthy life.” FI is associated with negative developmental and health outcomes in children and adults but is less often associated with the physical appearance of malnourishment in children. Because of this, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends FI screening for all pediatric patients. The Hunger Vital Signs (HVS) screening tool was developed as an efficient and effective way to screen for FI in clinical settings. Since its development, the HVS has been found to be sensitive, specific, and valid as a screening tool for FI in all populations, as compared to the USDA’s 18-item Household Food Security Survey. This project aims to assess the prevalence and distribution of food insecurity within HSC’s patient population. Methods: As part of the check-in process, patients or their caregivers completed an HVS screening at each clinic visit. HVS asks if within the past 12 months, patients “worried whether our food would run out before we got money to buy more,” and if “the food we bought just didn’t last and we didn’t have money to get more,” and allows patients to answer along a 4-point scale. Patients who screened positive for FI then received in person or mailed resources from the clinic Social Worker, including various local food resources. The results of these screenings along with various patient demographics were then analyzed for various trends and distributions via Excel. Additionally, patients who screened positive for food insecurity were then provided resources by the clinic social workers, and results of these patients’ subsequent HVS screenings were followed to assess effectiveness of these resources. Results: Overall, 10.1% of patients screened positive for FI. Disparities across various factors were present, including percent FI amongst Asian patients of 6.1% compared to that of Native American patients of 15.5%. Additionally, patients from the UNT HSC Center for Older Adults showed only a 6.0% FI percentage. After intervention by the social work team, 40% of patients experiencing FI showed improvement on subsequent screenings. Conclusions: This study shows that food insecurity is a prevalent issue in our clinic’s patient population. Disparities across various factors were present, including ethnicity and clinic location, suggesting important areas for improved interventions. While 40% of food insecure patients showed improvement following intervention, several challenges were met regarding validation of this improvement data, emphasizing important areas for future research.en_US
dc.titleAssessment of Food Insecurity Amongst HSC Patients Using the Hunger Vital Signs Screening Toolen_US