DOI: 10.1158/1538-7755.disp23-b059 ISSN: 1538-7755

Abstract B059: Food insecurity among Asian Americans: A scoping review and recommendations for policy and practice

Victoria Huynh, Nhat-Ha Pham, Suji Ro, Q. Eileen Wafford, Milkie Vu
  • Oncology
  • Epidemiology


Background: Food insecurity is a critical social determinant of health and is associated with deleterious cancer-related health outcomes. Adults in households with food insecurity are more likely to forgo cancer screenings; they have also been found to have higher risks of cancer. In addition, patients with cancer have high rates of food insecurity. However, little is known about experiences of food insecurity among Asian Americans, including their experiences of food insecurity that are related to cancer prevention or care. We conducted a scoping review on food insecurity and strategies to cope with food insecurity among individuals of Asian origins living in the U.S.   Methods: In 2022, we searched peer-reviewed articles in MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library, Scopus, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Google Scholar. Two authors screened each title and abstract of 900 records and the full text of 48 records. Thirty-five studies were selected and analyzed.   Results: Among the 35 studies included in the review, 9 studies reported disaggregated data by Asian origin group for food insecurity prevalence. We observed great heterogeneity in reported prevalence. For example, food insecurity ranges 8.3%-41.1% for Filipinos, 13.1%-28.2% for Vietnamese, 6.6%-22.2% for Koreans, and 2.3%-11.2% for Japanese. Only eight studies included standardized data collection instruments in Asian languages. Seven studies noted collaboration with community partners. Lower acculturation, limited English proficiency, and higher social isolation were significantly associated with food insecurity. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits were seen as inadequate to remediate food insecurity. Barriers to nutrition assistance program participation involved negative experiences with social workers, burdensome application process, and confusion surrounding the program. Notably, no study focuses on how food insecurity influences cancer prevention or cancer treatment among Asian Americans.   Discussion: Our review found heterogenous food insecurity prevalence among Asian origin groups. We underscored a need for further research using disaggregated data by Asian origin group, employing multilingual data collection strategies, and involving community partners. Researchers should consider how social contexts and acculturation influences food insecurity. More research is needed on food insecurity as it relates to cancer prevention, screening, or management among Asian Americans. Future studies should investigate policy and interventions to ameliorate food insecurity and encourage nutrition program participation among Asian Americans living with food insecurity.

Citation Format: Victoria Huynh, Nhat-Ha Pham, Suji Ro, Q. Eileen Wafford, Milkie Vu. Food insecurity among Asian Americans: A scoping review and recommendations for policy and practice [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 16th AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2023 Sep 29-Oct 2;Orlando, FL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2023;32(12 Suppl):Abstract nr B059.

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