Dietary Patterns, Food Insecurity, and Their Relationships with Food Sources and Social Determinants in Two Small Island Developing States


Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have high burdens of nutrition-related chronic diseases. This has been associated with lack of access to adequate and affordable nutritious foods and increasing reliance on imported foods. Our aim in this study was to investigate dietary patterns and food insecurity and assess their associations with socio-demographic characteristics and food sources. We recruited individuals aged 15 years and above from rural and urban areas in Fiji (n = 186) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) (n = 147). Data collection included a 24 h diet recall, food source questionnaire and the Food Insecurity Experience Scale. We conducted latent class analysis to identify dietary patterns, and multivariable regression to investigate independent associations with dietary patterns. Three dietary patterns were identified: (1) low pulses, and milk and milk products, (2) intermediate pulses, and milk and milk products and (3) most diverse. In both SIDS, dietary pattern 3 was associated with older age, regularly sourcing food from supermarkets and borrowing, exchanging, bartering or gifting (BEB). Prevalence of food insecurity was not statistically different across dietary patterns. In both SIDS, food insecurity was higher in those regularly sourcing food from small shops, and in SVG, lower in those regularly using BEB. These results complement previous findings and provide a basis for further investigation into the determinants of dietary patterns, dietary diversity and food insecurity in these settings.