Food Insecurity, Sleep, and Cardiometabolic Risks in Urban American Indian/Alaska Native Youth

Published in: Sleep Health (2022). doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2022.10.003

Posted on RAND.org on November 04, 2022

by Lu Dong, Elizabeth J. D'Amico, Daniel Dickerson, Ryan Andrew Brown, Alina I. Palimaru, Carrie L. Johnson, Wendy M. Troxel

Read More

Access further information on this document at Elsevier Inc

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Objectives

Food insecurity contributes to racial/ethnic disparities in health. This is the first study to examine associations among food insecurity, sleep, and cardiometabolic outcomes in urban American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth.

Design

Participants were 142 urban AI/AN youth (mean age = 14 years, 58% female). Food insecurity and self-reported sleep disturbance were measured using validated surveys. A multi-dimensional sleep health composite was derived using questionnaires (ie, satisfaction, alertness) and actigraphy-derived indices (ie, duration, efficiency, regularity, timing). Cardiometabolic measures included body mass index, blood pressure, glycosylated hemoglobin, waist circumference, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Covariates were sex, age, and single-parent household.

Results

Greater food insecurity was significantly associated with greater body mass index (b = 0.12, p = .015), higher systolic blood pressure (b = 0.93, p = .03), and greater sleep disturbance (b = 1.49, p < .001), and marginally associated with lower sleep health composite scores (b = –0.09, p = .08). There was a significant indirect path from greater food insecurity to greater waist circumference through poorer sleep health (0.11, 95% bootstrapping CI: [0.01, 0.30]).

Conclusion

Food insecurity is an important correlate of sleep and cardiometabolic health among urban AI/AN youth and should be addressed to reduce emerging health risks during this important developmental period. Policies to reduce food insecurity and increase access to healthy foods as well as sleep interventions for these youth could help, as preliminary findings suggest that sleep health may mediate the negative impact of food insecurity on cardiometabolic risks.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.