COVID-19 expands food insecurity disparities among rural, high-risk obstetrics patients

Authors: , , , ,


Objective: To compare rural and urban food insecurity in a high-risk obstetrics population prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: Utilizing convenience sampling of high-risk obstetrics patients, validated survey questions assessed self-reported food insecurity from March - October 2019 (pre-COVID-19) and March - October 2020 (COVID-19). Chi-squared analysis compared food insecurity between these two periods and among patients living in rural vs. urban counties.

Results: A total of 1089 (pre-COVID-19) and 1246 (COVID-19) screenings were completed. Compared to 2019, the prevalence of food insecurity in 2020 was significantly higher from March-June only (7.8% pre-COVID-19 vs. 11.4 % COVID-19, p=0.04). Despite pre-COVID-19 similarity, rural patients reported significantly higher food insecurity prevalence during COVID-19 than urban counterparts (12.9% rural vs. 8.2% urban, p<0.01).

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with a disproportionate effect on food insecurity among rural patients with high-risk pregnancies. Rural health systems and agencies should explore proactive screening and intervention efforts to mitigate the adverse, downstream health effects of food insecurity.

Keywords: High-risk obstetrics, food insecurity, COVID-19, health disparity, rural health, ood insecurity

How to Cite: Chen, A. , Merritt, K. , Greenwood, A. , Syrop, C. H. & Haugsdal, M. L. (2022) “COVID-19 expands food insecurity disparities among rural, high-risk obstetrics patients”, Proceedings in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 11(1). doi: