Food and housing security for pregnant people
Talk by Luseadra McKerracher on the implications for current and future public health
There is mounting evidence from multiple high-income countries that food insecurity, when experienced during pregnancy, is associated with increases in risks for many physical, psychological, and social challenges for both parents and babies. The same associations appear to hold for housing insecurity, considered as a risk factor independent from food insecurity. However, we don’t yet have an understanding of the ways that food and housing insecurity might overlap with each other or how they might contribute to particularly large challenges or particularly poor outcomes for families when they overlap. We also do not yet have a solid understanding of which policy environments might be relatively effective at protecting pregnant people and new parents from food and/or housing insecurity.
Luseadra McKerracher and her team have begun to investigate both of these questions in two ways. First, they carried out an evidence synthesis of published literature on prenatal and peri-natal health in the context of food and housing insecurities in high-income countries. Second, they are collecting qualitative focus group and interview data, qualitative policy document analysis data, and quantitative survey data about food and housing insecurity during pregnancy and infancy/early childhood in marginalized neighbourhoods in Denmark.
These Danish case study data are being gathered during a time period characterized by three crises: state-driven reconfiguration and partial dismantling of these marginalized neighbourhoods (2019-2030), the height of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2021), and a massive spike in inflation and household economic stress (2022-2023).
In this presentation, Luseadra McKerracher will summarize their preliminary findings from both the evidence synthesis and the case study, discuss implications for public health and health equity for the next generation, and touch on possible strategies for intervention in Denmark and beyond.
About the speaker
Luseadra McKerracher is currently a Junior Fellow at the Aarhus Institute for Advanced Studies and is also an incoming Assistant Professor at the Department of Public Health, both at Aarhus University. Her general research interests concern health equity using a biocultural life course or developmentalist perspective. Over the last 10 years, whe has worked on projects concerning health equity during pregnancy, infancy, adolescence, and emerging adulthood in Guatemala, Canada, Fiji, and Denmark.