Objective: We assessed the prevalence of food insecurity (FI) and its associated factors in Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) early during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: We performed secondary data analysis of a survey conducted by Facebook and the University of Maryland. We included adults surveyed from April to May 2020. FI was measured by concerns about having enough to eat during the following week. Sociodemographic, mental health, and COVID-19-related variables were collected. We performed generalized Poisson regressions models considering the complex sampling design. We estimated crude and adjusted prevalence ratios with their 95% confidence intervals. Results: We included 1,324,272 adults; 50.5% were female, 42.9% were under 35 years old, 78.9% lived in a city, and 18.6% had COVID-19 symptoms. The prevalence of food insecurity in LAC was 75.7% (n ¼ 1,016,841), with Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Haiti with 90.8%, 86.7%, and 85.5%, respectively, showing the highest prevalence. Gender, area of residence, presence of COVID-19 symptoms, and fear of getting seriously ill or that a family member gets seriously ill from COVID-19 were associated with a higher prevalence of food insecurity. In contrast, increasing age was associated with a lower prevalence.
- Food insecurity
- Latin America