Journal of Food Security
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Journal of Food Security. 2016, 4(2), 42-51
DOI: 10.12691/jfs-4-2-3
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The Impact of Food Insecurity on the Health of Colombian Refugees in Ecuador

Michele G. Shedlin1, , Carlos U. Decena2, Hugo Noboa3, Oscar Betancourt3, Stacia B. Birdsall1 and Kaitlyn M. Smith4

1College of Nursing, New York University, New York, USA

2School of Arts and Science, Rutgers State University of New Jersey, USA

3Fundacion Salud Ambiente y Desarrollo (FUNSAD), Quito, Ecuador

4Bucknell University, Lewisburg, USA

Pub. Date: May 12, 2016

Cite this paper:
Michele G. Shedlin, Carlos U. Decena, Hugo Noboa, Oscar Betancourt, Stacia B. Birdsall and Kaitlyn M. Smith. The Impact of Food Insecurity on the Health of Colombian Refugees in Ecuador. Journal of Food Security. 2016; 4(2):42-51. doi: 10.12691/jfs-4-2-3


This paper illustrates the salience of the specific factors challenging the food security of a refugee population and the effects on their health and wellbeing. Data presented are part of an NIH/NIDA study that explored the health implications of the forced migration of Colombian refugees in Ecuador. The two-year investigation utilized a qualitative approach and methods including in-depth interviews with refugees (n=96), focus groups (n=5) and interviews with key informants (n=21), permitting the triangulation of data sources and methods. Ethnographic observations and media analysis of the refugee situation were carried out as well. Data were analyzed using Atlas.ti software. Food insecurity emerged as a primary factor affecting all aspects of refugee life, the result of a complex interplay of socio-political forces such as discrimination and high rates of unemployment. The results of the study suggest the need to develop grounded, informed, and situation-specific guidelines to address the burgeoning epidemic of food insecurity in Ecuador and among refugee communities.

Colombian refugees food insecurity health discrimination Ecuador

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