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Widome R.,University of Minnesota | Joseph A.M.,University of Minnesota | Hammett P.,University of Minnesota | Hammett P.,and D Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research CCDOR | And 5 more authors.
Preventive Medicine Reports | Year: 2015

Objective: Many American households struggle to bring in sufficient income to meet basic needs related to nutrition, housing, and healthcare. Nicotine addiction and consequent expenditures on cigarettes may impose extra financial strain on low-income households. We examine how cigarette use behaviors relate to self-reported financial stress/strain among low-income smokers. Methods: At baseline in 2011/12, OPT-IN recruited adult smokers age 18-64 from the administrative databases of the state-subsidized Minnesota Health Care Programs (N=2406). We tested whether nicotine dependency, type of cigarettes used, and smoking intensity were associated with self-reported difficulty affording food, healthcare, housing, and living within one's income. All regression models were adjusted for race, education, income, age, and gender. Results: Difficulty living on one's income (77.4%), paying for healthcare (33.6%), paying for housing (38.4%), and paying for food (40.8%) were common conditions in this population. Time to first cigarette and cigarettes smoked per day predicted financial stress related to affording food, housing, and living within one's income (all p<0.05). For instance, those whose time to first cigarette was greater than 60. minutes had about half the odds of reporting difficulty paying for housing compared to those who had their first cigarette within five minutes of waking (adjusted odds ratio=0.55 [95% CI: 0.41, 0.73]). Type of cigarette used was not associated with any type of financial stress/strain. Conclusions: Smoking and particularly heavy smoking may contribute in an important way to the struggles that low-income households with smokers face in paying for necessities. © 2015 Published by Elsevier Inc.

Widome R.,University of Minnesota | Jensen A.,and D Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research CCDOR | Bangerter A.,and D Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research CCDOR | Fu S.S.,and D Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research CCDOR | Fu S.S.,University of Minnesota
Public Health Nutrition | Year: 2014

Abstract Objective Food insecurity, or lack of access to sufficient food for a healthful lifestyle, has been associated with many aspects of poor health. While the economic struggles among veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been documented, it is unknown how commonly this population struggles to afford food. Our purpose was to document the prevalence and correlates of food insecurity among US veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Design A cross-sectional survey. Subjects US military veterans who had served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since October 2001. Setting Subjects responded to a survey mailed to them in summer 2012. Food security was measured by the US Household Food Security Module: Six Item Short Form. Demographic and behavioural health items were also included. Survey data were matched to medical record data from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Results Over one in four veterans reported past-year food insecurity with 12 % reporting very low food security. Food-insecure veterans tended to be younger, not married/partnered, living in households with more children, earning lower incomes, had a lower final military pay grade, were more likely to use tobacco, reported more frequent binge drinking and slept less, compared with those who were food secure (P<0·05 for all associations listed). Conclusions Previously undocumented, the problem of hunger among our newest veterans deserves attention. Copyright © The Authors 2014.

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