This project aims to identify correlates of household food insecurity–the perception or experience of not having enough money to reliably provide nutritious, appropriate foods for all household members–during pregnancy. Specifically, I am exploring whether variations in pregnancy food insecurity and diet are associated with policy-sensitive features of neighborhood environment in Denmark’s urban centres, especially whether pregnancy food insecurity risk is higher and whether pregnancy health in general is worse in Denmark’s most vulnerable neighborhoods–its so-called “ghettos”.
To address these questions, I plan to develop relationships and run focus groups with key stakeholders–community leaders, healthcare providers, pregnant women/mothers–from urban Danish neighborhoods, some affluent, some vulnerable. Focus groups will yield qualitative data about perceptions of food insecurity in relation to neighborhood quality and pregnancy wellbeing; they will also be used to develop/refine a quantitative survey instrument. I will then survey ~1000 new mothers, particularly those living in vulnerable areas, so as to explore links among survey variables and focus group themes related to neighborhood status, food insecurity, diet, and indicators of pregnancy wellbeing.
Ultimately, the findings will allow identification of neighborhood environments and policy contexts that may help in mitigating pregnancy food insecurity risk and its health consequences.
Luseadra McKerracher co-leads several biocultural and health equity research projects, all of which relate to sexual and/or reproductive health, with a particular focus on nutrition during pregnancy. Specifically, in addition to the new project on pregnancy food security she is launching in Denmark, McKerracher has and continues to work on studies related to: pregnancy nutrition in Indigenous Fijians, infant feeding in Indigenous Maya-speakers from Guatemala, food insecurity and other vulnerabilities in pregnant people and in teens in Hamilton, Canada, and reproductive health in LGBTQ+ people.
Food Insecurity during Pregnancy in Copenhagen and Aarhus: Implications of Neighborhood Vulnerability, Social Policy, and the "Ghetto Plan" for Maternal-Child Health in Urban Denmark
Area of research:
Nutritional Anthropology, Reproductive Health, Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
1 February 2021 - 31 January 2024