Aging and Chronic Disease
Community and Public Health Nutrition
Maternal, Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition
Objectives : This study assesses the relationship between household food insecurity and adiposity, measured as BMI-for-age z-score (BMI-z), overweight/obesity, and waist circumference, as well as dietary intake and diet-related behaviors in US children.
Methods : A total of 5,138 US schoolchildren ages 4-15 years from 130 communities in the cross-sectional Healthy Communities Study were included in this analysis. Household food insecurity was self-reported using a validated 2-item screener. Dietary intake was assessed using National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Dietary Screener Questionnaire (DSQ), a 26-item food frequency questionnaire, and dietary behaviors were assessed during a household survey. Data were analyzed using multilevel statistical models, including interaction tests for age, sex, and race/ethnicity.
Results : Food insecure children had a BMI z-score of 0.14 higher (95% CI: 0.06, 0.21) and a waist circumference of 0.91 cm higher (95% CI: 0.18, 1.63) than food secure children. Food insecure children have 1.17 times the odds of being overweight/obesity compared with food secure children (95% CI: 1.02, 1.34). There was no significant interaction by sex or race/ethnicity. Food insecure children consumed more sugar from sugar sweetened beverages (0.36 tsp/day; 95% CI: 0.09, 0.63), and ate breakfast (-0.28 days/week; 95% CI: -0.39, -0.17) and together with family (-0.22 days/week; 95% CI: -0.37, -0.06) less frequently compared to food secure children.
The present study found a significant, positive association between household food insecurity and child adiposity for children ages 10-15 years, as well as for several dietary intake and diet-related behaviors. This research helps disentangle the complex picture of food insecurity as a contributor to childhood obesity and poorer dietary outcomes in diverse populations.
Funding Sources :
Research was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number K01HL131630. The authors would also like to acknowledge the Global Food Initiative at the University of California Office of the President for their support of this project.