Open Access Open Badges Research article

Prevalence and socioeconomic and geographical inequalities of household food insecurity in the Paris region, France, 2010

Judith Martin-Fernandez12*, Francesca Grillo12, Isabelle Parizot14, France Caillavet3 and Pierre Chauvin12

Author Affiliations

1 University Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, UMR-S 707, Paris, France

2 INSERM, U707, Research team on the social determinants of health and healthcare, 27 rue de Chaligny, Paris, 75012, France

3 INRA, U1303, Research team on diet and social science, 65 boulevard de Brandebourg, Ivry sur Seine, 94205, France

4 CNRS, ERIS, Research team on social inequality, 48 boulevard Jourdan, Paris, 75014, France

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:486  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-486

Published: 20 May 2013



Food insecurity (FI) is the situation where people do not have, at all times, access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence of FI in the Paris area by using, for the first time in France, a specific FI questionnaire and to identify the characteristics of food-insecure households, taking into account a potential neighbourhood effect.


This study is based on data from the third wave of the SIRS cohort study (a representative, population-based socioepidemiological study) that were analysed using a cross-sectional design. In 2010, 3000 individuals in the Paris metropolitan area (PMA) were interviewed. FI was investigated by means of the USDA’s HFSSM. We used stratified multilevel models across three household income categories to identify populations at risk for FI.


In 2010, 6.30% (95% CI = [4.99-7.97]) of the households in the PMA experienced FI (up to 13.59% in the most underprivileged neighbourhoods). About 2.50% of the households experienced severe FI and 2.85% of household living with an income above 1666 € experienced food insecurity, whereas the percentage raises to 23.38% among those living below the poverty threshold (<791 €). Depending on the income level, different household characteristics emerged as being associated with FI. In the poorest households, the presence of a child under 3 years of age was associated with an increased risk of FI (OR = 2.11; p = 0.03). Among higher-income households, the household composition appeared to be strongly associated with FI.


FI exists in several social groups in France. Its prevalence in the most underprivileged households should be considered an indicator of vulnerability, which could permit targeted social assistance policies.