During the last two decades hunger has reemerged as an important social issue in the United States. As a result, efforts were initiated to adequately define hunger and food insecurity (i.e., limited or uncertain access to nutritionally adequate and safe foods) and to develop appropriate indicators for their measurement. The purpose of this study is to examine hunger and food insecurity among low-income Hispanic families with children in Hartford, Connecticut, using the Radimer/Cornell Scale. Additionally, the association of specified sociodemographic and food-assistance variables with hunger and food insecurity in this population are examined. Findings are compared to local and national data and implications for public health nutrition policy are discussed. More than 41 percent of households were food insecure, 25.4 percent of the adult participants were food insecure, and 20.9 percent of the study children (1-6 years) suffered from periodic hunger. These data corroborate an earlier study conducted in Hartford during the late 1980s, and the finding on child hunger is similar to that reported in national studies. Specific variables associated with hunger and food insecurity included: female caretaker being the household head, female caretaker being older, study child not being enrolled in a preschool/kindergarten program, and household running out of food stamps before the end of the month. Although not statistically significant, household seeking emergency food assistance was also associated with hunger and food insecurity. By using estimates and risk factors of hunger and food insecurity, policy makers can monitor prevalence rates, better target food programs intended to alleviate hunger, and make informed decisions on public health nutrition policy. This is particularly important in light of recent welfare reforms. To the best of our knowledge, this study represents the first application of the Radimer/Cornell Scale to U.S. inner-city Hispanics.

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