Hunger in Young Children of Mexican Immigrant Families

Department of Pediatrics, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN 55415, USA.
Public Health Nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.68). 05/2007; 10(4):390-5. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980007334071
Source: PubMed


To measure rates of hunger and food insecurity among young US-born Latino children with Mexican immigrant parents (Latinos) compared with a non-immigrant non-Latino population (non-Latinos) in a low-income clinic population.
A repeated cross-sectional survey of 4278 caregivers of children < 3 years of age in the paediatric clinic of an urban county hospital for a 5-year period from 1998 to 2003. A total of 1310 respondents had a US-born child with at least one parent born in Mexico. They were compared with a reference group comprised of non-Latino US-born participants (n = 1805). Child hunger and household food insecurity were determined with the US Household Food Security Scale.
Young Latino children had much higher rates of child hunger than non-Latinos, 6.8 versus 0.5%. Latino families also had higher rates of household food insecurity than non-Latinos, 53.1 versus 15.6%. Latino children remained much more likely to be hungry (odds ratio (OR) = 13.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 5.9-28.7, P < 0.01) and in household food-insecure households (OR = 6.6, 95% CI = 5.2-8.3, P < 0.01) than non-Latinos after controlling for the following variables in multivariate analysis: child's age, sex, maternal education level, single-headed household status, family size, young maternal age ( < 21 years), food stamp programme participation, TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or 'welfare') programme participation and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) usage, and reason for clinic visit (sick visit versus well-child).
Young children in Mexican immigrant families are at especially high risk for hunger and household food insecurity compared with non-immigrant, non-Latino patients in a low-income paediatric clinic.

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    • "Child hunger, as both a poor outcome and risk factor for adverse health and development [6], is a serious challenge facing children [13,14]. A direct link has been established between inadequate food quality and quantity and poor mental and physical health, psychosocial, behavioral, learning, family stress, and academic outcomes [3,15-24]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Nutritional health is essential for children's growth and development. Many Mexican-origin children who reside in limited-resource colonias along the Texas-Mexico border are at increased risk for poor nutrition as a result of household food insecurity. However, little is known about the prevalence of child hunger or its associated factors among children of Mexican immigrants. This study determines the prevalence of child hunger and identifies protective and risk factors associated with it in two Texas border areas. This study uses 2009 Colonia Household and Community Food Resource Assessment (C-HCFRA) data from 470 mothers who were randomly recruited by promotora-researchers. Participants from colonias near two small towns in two South Texas counties participated in an in-home community and household assessment. Interviewer-administered surveys collected data in Spanish on sociodemographics, federal food assistance program participation, and food security status. Frequencies and bivariate correlations were examined while a random-effects logistic regression model with backward elimination was used to determine correlates of childhood hunger. Hunger among children was reported in 51% (n = 239) of households in this C-HCFRA sample. Bivariate analyses revealed that hunger status was associated with select maternal characteristics, such as lower educational attainment and Mexican nativity, and household characteristics, including household composition, reliance on friend or neighbor for transportation, food purchase at dollar stores and from neighbors, and participation in school-based nutrition programs. A smaller percentage of households with child hunger participated in school-based nutrition programs (51%) or used alternative food sources, while 131 households were unable to give their child or children a balanced meal during the school year and 145 households during summer months. In the random effects model (RE = small town), increased household composition, full-time unemployment, and participation in the National School Lunch Program were significantly associated with increased odds for child hunger, while participation in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and purchasing food from a neighbor were significantly associated with decreased odds for child hunger. This study not only emphasizes the alarming rates of child hunger among this sample of Mexican-origin families, but also identifies economic and family factors that increased the odds for child hunger as well as community strategies that reduced the odds. It is unsettling that so many children did not participate in school-based nutrition programs, and that many who participated in federal nutrition assistance programs remained hungry. This study underscores the importance of identifying the presence of child hunger among low-income Mexican-origin children in Texas border colonias and increasing access to nutrition-related resources. Hunger-associated health inequities at younger ages among colonia residents are likely to persist across the life span and into old age.
    BMC Pediatrics 09/2013; 13(1):143. DOI:10.1186/1471-2431-13-143 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    • "The 2009 Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement identified low or very low food security in 26.9% of Hispanic households, compared with 14.7% in all U.S. households, and in 18.7% of Hispanic households with food-insecure children compared with 10.6% in all households [7]. In a study of Mexican immigrant families in Minnesota, Kersey and colleagues observed much higher rates of child hunger among 1,310 Mexican immigrant families than among 1,805 non-immigrant families (6.8% versus 0.5%) [8]. Food insecurity is much more prevalent among Mexican-origin households in the Texas border region compared with other regions of the U.S [3,7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Food insecurity among Mexican-origin and Hispanic households is a critical nutritional health issue of national importance. At the same time, nutrition-related health conditions, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, are increasing in Mexican-origin youth. Risk factors for obesity and type 2 diabetes are more common in Mexican-origin children and include increased intakes of energy-dense and nutrient-poor foods. This study assessed the relationship between children's experience of food insecurity and nutrient intake from food and beverages among Mexican-origin children (age 6-11 y) who resided in Texas border colonias. Baseline data from 50 Mexican-origin children were collected in the home by trained promotora-researchers. All survey (demographics and nine-item child food security measure) and 24-hour dietary recall data were collected in Spanish. Dietary data were collected in person on three occasions using a multiple-pass approach; nutrient intakes were calculated with NDS-R software. Separate multiple regression models were individually fitted for total energy, protein, dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin D, potassium, sodium, Vitamin C, and percentage of calories from fat and added sugars. Thirty-two children (64%) reported low or very low food security. Few children met the recommendations for calcium, dietary fiber, and sodium; and none for potassium or vitamin D. Weekend intake was lower than weekday for calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and vitamin C; and higher for percent of calories from fat. Three-day average dietary intakes of total calories, protein, and percent of calories from added sugars increased with declining food security status. Very low food security was associated with greater intakes of total energy, calcium, and percentage of calories from fat and added sugar. This paper not only emphasizes the alarming rates of food insecurity for this Hispanic subgroup, but describes the associations for food insecurity and diet among this sample of Mexican-origin children. Child-reported food insecurity situations could serve as a screen for nutrition problems in children. Further, the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, which play a major beneficial role in children's weekday intakes, may not be enough to keep pace with the nutritional needs of low and very low food secure Mexican-origin children.
    BMC Pediatrics 02/2012; 12(1):16. DOI:10.1186/1471-2431-12-16 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    • "While food insecurity may be a major contributor to nutritional inadequacy among intermarried couples in Korea, no study has investigated food insecurity among such couples. Most previous studies of food insecurity among immigrants have involved children [13,15,18] and Hispanic [18], Latino [9,10,14,19], and Mexican [12,13] adults participating in food-assistance programs [19-21] in the USA, as well as adult immigrants from Colombia in Canada [20]. In addition, only one previous study has investigated the discordance of 13 food insecurity items between native Bangladeshi couples living in Bangladesh [22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Our previous studies have demonstrated the inadequate nutritional status of Vietnamese female marriage immigrants in Korea. Major possible reasons include food insecurity due to economic problems as well as a lack of adjustment to unfamiliar Korean foods and limited access to Vietnamese foods; however, no study has investigated food insecurity among such intermarried couples. This study was performed to investigate the prevalence of food insecurity in Korean-husband-Vietnamese-wife couples and to determine whether they exhibit an intrahousehold discrepancy regarding food insecurity. A cross-sectional analysis of the Cohort of Intermarried Women in Korea study was performed with 84 intermarried couples. Among the 84 Vietnamese immigrants, 48.8% and 41.7% had food insecurity due to economic problems and a lack of foods appealing to their appetite, respectively. There was a marked discrepancy in reporting food insecurity between Vietnamese wives (22.6-38.1%) and their Korean husbands (6.0-15.5%). Vietnamese wives were five and two times more food-insecure due to economic problems and no foods appealing to their appetite, respectively, than their Korean spouses. A follow-up study is needed to investigate the causes of this discrepancy and ways of reducing food insecurity among female marriage immigrants living in low-income, rural communities.
    Nutrition research and practice 10/2011; 5(5):471-80. DOI:10.4162/nrp.2011.5.5.471 · 1.44 Impact Factor
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