Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Katie Martin, Jane Ungemack

Field of Study

Public Health


Master of Public Health

Open Access

Campus Access


Food insecurity is an increasingly urgent problem in the United States. Food security is defined as having “consistent access to enough food for active healthy living.” Those who are food insecure typically lack access to healthy food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, facing increased risk of certain types of cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. This research examines the relationship between food security, diet quality, body mass index (BMI) and health in a sample of Hartford residents who utilize food pantries.

Data for this thesis are from baseline data of a larger evaluation of a new program called Freshplace. This study involves the evaluation of Freshplace, a community-based project developed by the Chrysalis Center, Foodshare and the Junior League of Hartford, with the University of Connecticut joining the groups as an Evaluation partner.

Study participants were selected from two food pantries in Hartford, CT. Of 139 participants surveyed, 81.3% were food insecure and 71.9% were overweight or obese. Women were at higher risk for obesity. Results showed that food insecurity was significantly related to low fruit and vegetable consumption (p<.01). One quarter (24.5%) of participants had diabetes and 64.0% had high blood pressure.

The continued expansion of food assistance programs makes it important to examine the socio-demographic characteristics and nutritional and health profiles of people relying on food pantries.

Major Advisor

Joan Segal