The food insecurity-obesity paradox for women

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Fri, 2012-12-07 12:00

The webinar recording is now online! View the webinar here (60 minutes).

This free event was presented by the Canadian Women’s Health Network and the Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women's Health

Presented by Andrea S. Papan
Moderated by Anne Rochon Ford, CWHN Executive Director

Food insecurity is the inconsistent access to affordable, safe, nutritious food.  Obesity isn’t simply about eating too much or choosing poor quality foods. For many women, it is also about poverty, social circumstance and lack of access to healthier food choices. In this webinar, researcher Andrea S. Papan discussed the paradox of women simultaneously experiencing food insecurity and weight gain as outlined in The Food Insecurity-Obesity Paradox as a Vicious Cycle for Women: A Qualitative Study.

The aim of this project was to investigate the links between moderate food insecurity, overweight/obesity and chronic disease for women in Atlantic Canada, especially those in marginalized and vulnerable populations. They were intrigued with the question of moderate food insecurity being linked to overweight rather than low body weight, and that this was the case only for women. In particular, they asked:

  • What were women’s weight challenges – had they experienced weight issues from childhood or as a direct response to food insecurity? 
  • Was this strictly about access to poor quality food options?  What food choices were available to the women? 
  • What were the gender dynamics in the household – how was food shared, who got the best food, and who ate the most food?  
  • How did their weight affect other aspects of their health, especially around chronic diseases? 
  • What coping strategies did they use to deal with food insecurity?  What changes did they see as important in order to make the situation better?

Papan responded to audience questions after her presentation. 

For more information:

Download the webinar presentation (attached below).

Download the report, The Food Insecurity-Obesity Paradox as a Vicious Cycle for Women: A Qualitative Study.

Read the Network article, Food insecurity-obesity paradox for women in Atlantic Canada, by Jane Shulman.

Visit the Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health.

Production of this event has been made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.

Papan final Dec. '12.pdf1.11 MB