Food insecurity among Finnish private service sector workers: Validity, prevalence, and determinants

Hanna Walsh, Jaakko Nevalainen, Tiina Saari, Liisa Uusitalo, Turkka Näppilä, Ossi Rahkonen, Maijaliisa Erkkola

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Objective: To examine the prevalence and determinants of food insecurity among private sector service workers in Finland and assess validity of the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) tool. Design: In this cross-sectional study, food insecurity and background characteristics were collected from Finnish private service workers via electronic questionnaires (2019) and national register data (2018-2019). We conducted univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses to determine the variables explaining food insecurity. Validity of HFIAS was assessed with rotated principal component analysis and Cronbach alpha. Setting: Members of the trade union for private sector service workers, Service Union United (PAM), from all municipalities in Finland participated in the study in 2019. Participants: The subjects were 6,435 private sector workers that were members of the Service Union United (PAM) in Finland. Mean age of participants was 44 years (SD=12.7 years). Results: Two thirds of the participants (65%) were food insecure with over a third (36%) reporting severe food insecurity. Reporting great difficulties in covering household expenses and young age markedly increased the risk of severe food insecurity (OR:15.05 95% CI:10.60-21.38 and OR:5.07 95% CI:3.94-6.52, respectively). Not being married, low education, working in the hospitality industry, being male and living in rented housing also increased the probability of severe food insecurity. The HFIAS tool demonstrated acceptable construct and criterion validity. Conclusions: Severe food insecurity was widespread and associated with low socioeconomic status, young age and being male among Finnish private sector service workers, emphasising the need for regular monitoring of food insecurity in Finland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829 - 840
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • food security
  • income
  • occupational health
  • socioeconomic factors
  • working poor

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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