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Original article Changes in food sufficiency among Korean adults in urban and rural areas during the COVID-19 pandemic: an analysis of the 7th and 8th Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
Sarang Jeong1orcid , Jin-Young Jeong2orcid , Sohyun Park1,3orcid
Epidemiol Health 2024;e2024045
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2024045 [Accepted]
Published online: April 16, 2024
1The Korean Institute of Nutrition, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea
2Hallym Research Institute of Clinical Epidemiology, Hallym University, Chuncheon Korea
3Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea
Corresponding author:  Sohyun Park,
Email: sopark@hallym.ac.kr
Received: 14 December 2023   • Revised: 12 March 2024   • Accepted: 13 March 2024
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OBJECTIVES
Understanding changes in food sufficiency within various demographic groups during emergency situations, such as the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, is crucial in formulating public health policies for future preparedness. This study investigated potential differences between urban and rural residents in food sufficiency trends during the COVID-19 pandemic and examined how these changes varied according to sociodemographic factors.
METHODS
This cross-sectional study analyzed data from 19,724 adults aged 20 years and older, utilizing information from the 7th–8th Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2018–2021).
RESULTS
In urban areas, across all subpopulations, food sufficiency improved significantly during the COVID-19 period relative to pre-pandemic levels (p<0.001). However, in rural regions, a significant increase in food sufficiency during the COVID-19 era was observed only among women, with an odds ratio of 1.42 (confidence interval, 1.06 to 1.89). Nevertheless, no significant interaction terms were found between region and various sociodemographic factors regarding changes in food sufficiency during the COVID-19 period.
CONCLUSIONS
During the COVID-19 pandemic, food sufficiency among urban residents improved compared to the pre-pandemic era, whereas their rural counterparts saw no such improvement. Additionally, no significant interaction was detected between urban versus rural areas and changes in food sufficiency during the COVID-19 period. These findings indicate the need for targeted food policies to prepare for potential future pandemics, particularly in rural areas, where food sufficiency did not improve.


Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health