Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Degree Program

Public Health Sciences with a specialization in Health Promotion, PhD

Committee Chair

LaJoie, A. Scott

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Jones, Gaberiel

Committee Member

Jones, Gaberiel

Committee Member

Kelly-Pryor, Brandy

Committee Member

King, Kristi

Author's Keywords

food insecurity; residential segregation; redlining; public health; systemic racism


Food insecurity is when a household has insufficient food supply due to limited economic resources. It is a public health issue that continues to persist. The health, social, and economic impact affects millions of people nationwide. Residential segregation is a primary cause of inequities and health disparities. It shapes the differences in socio-economic conditions between Blacks and Whites living in the U.S. This country is segregated across racial lines in many of our most populated metropolitan cities. Americans worship in different churches, learn in disparate schools, and live in separate neighborhoods. Residential segregation has consequences that impact the economy, professional and social networks, and cause resource inequalities. As food insecurity and residential segregation continue to plague our country, public health researchers must investigate these issues and use theory to guide them toward solutions. Using extensive data samples to understand better the impact of residential segregation on food insecurity rates across the country is essential. This study used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2017-March 2020 pre-pandemic data, the U.S. Census, Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap, and Brown University’s Dissimilarity Index to assess food insecurity and residential segregation in adults in the U.S. Additionally, the data was used to examine food insecurity and levels of segregation across three metropolitan cities with high, medium, and low dissimilarity indices. Variables for the study were identified from the individual, community, and societal levels of the social-ecological model. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess predictors of food insecurity among adults in the U.S. Findings showed statistical significance in many of the variables predicting food insecurity. Research was also conducted on local programs, policies, and interventions to combat food insecurity in the selected metropolitan cities. This study adds to the growing body of literature on residential segregation and its association with food insecurity rates in the U.S. The findings from this research indicate the need for improvements in public health, health promotion, and education efforts regarding these issues. It can prompt the creation of better policies, programs, and interventions to address this country's growing food insecurity and residential segregation.