Recent findings concerning childhood food security

The Department of Pediatrics, The New York University School of Medicine, New York 10010, USA.
Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care 04/2009; 12(3):310-6. DOI: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283298e37
Source: PubMed


Food insecurity is a relatively new measure of household and child malnutrition. This paper reviews recent studies that have examined aspects of its etiology and adverse child health and development.
Smoking by adults in children's homes has recently been found to be highly associated with childhood food insecurity. Much recent research has also examined the relationship between food insecurity and childhood obesity, and thus far, whereas suggestive, results are conflicting. Some studies have found that parenting practices and parental depression are factors that link household food insecurity with childhood obesity. Other health outcomes recently shown to be associated with food insecurity include undernutrition, decreased mental proficiency, increased developmental risk, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and poor health status. Most of the studies of food insecurity to date have come from the USA. There is, however, absolutely no reason to believe that this measure, and the negative child health outcomes associated with it, does not apply to other developed nations. Similarly, it is likely that children and families living in developing countries suffer a greater prevalence and severity of food insecurity and its negative consequences.
Childhood food insecurity has numerous significant negative effects on childhood health and development, may be associated with obesity, and occurs much more often in impoverished homes with adult smokers.

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    • "Socio-demographic variables were selected based on findings in the literature (7,13,15–17). They included: age, gender, urban/rural habitation and household economic characteristics. "
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    ABSTRACT: In vulnerable populations, food security in children has been found to be associated with negative health effects. Still, little is known about whether the negative health effects can be retrieved in children at the population level. To examine food insecurity reported by Greenlandic school children as a predictor for perceived health, physical symptoms and medicine use. The study is based on the Greenlandic part of the Health Behavior in School-aged Children survey. The 2010 survey included 2,254 students corresponding to 40% of all Greenlandic school children in Grade 5 through 10. The participation rate in the participating schools was 65%. Food insecurity was measured as going to bed or to school hungry because there was no food at home. Boys, the youngest children (11-12 year-olds), and children from low affluence homes were at increased risk for food insecurity. Poor or fair self-rated health, medicine use last month and physical symptoms during the last 6 months were all more frequent in children reporting food insecurity. Controlling for age, gender and family affluence odds ratio (OR) for self-rated health was 1.60 (95% confidence interval (CI 1.23-2.06) (p<0.001), for reporting physical symptoms 1.34 (95% CI 1.06-1.68) (p=0.01) and for medicine use 1.79 (95% CI 1.42-2.26) (p<0.001). Stratification on age groups suggested that children in different age groups experience different health consequences of food insecurity. The oldest children reported food insecurity less often and experienced less negative health effects compared to the younger children. All 3 measures of health were negatively associated to the occurrence of food insecurity in Greenlandic school children aged 11-17. Food security must be seen as a public health issue of concern, and policies should be enforced to prevent food poverty particularly among boys, younger school children and children from low affluence homes.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013
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    • "It is a well-known aspect of living in underprivileged conditions in certain countries, such as the United States and Canada, where various studies have been conducted in the last 20 years [9-14]. However it is much less known and studied in France in the field of social epidemiology and poverty research [10,15,16]. The present economic crisis is having a strong impact on employment and poverty in France [17], and it is generally known that the most vulnerable people are particularly affected by price changes and financial shocks [18]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Food insecurity (FI) is the situation where people do not have, at all times, access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence of FI in the Paris area by using, for the first time in France, a specific FI questionnaire and to identify the characteristics of food-insecure households, taking into account a potential neighbourhood effect. Methods This study is based on data from the third wave of the SIRS cohort study (a representative, population-based socioepidemiological study) that were analysed using a cross-sectional design. In 2010, 3000 individuals in the Paris metropolitan area (PMA) were interviewed. FI was investigated by means of the USDA’s HFSSM. We used stratified multilevel models across three household income categories to identify populations at risk for FI. Results In 2010, 6.30% (95% CI = [4.99-7.97]) of the households in the PMA experienced FI (up to 13.59% in the most underprivileged neighbourhoods). About 2.50% of the households experienced severe FI and 2.85% of household living with an income above 1666 € experienced food insecurity, whereas the percentage raises to 23.38% among those living below the poverty threshold (<791 €). Depending on the income level, different household characteristics emerged as being associated with FI. In the poorest households, the presence of a child under 3 years of age was associated with an increased risk of FI (OR = 2.11; p = 0.03). Among higher-income households, the household composition appeared to be strongly associated with FI. Conclusion FI exists in several social groups in France. Its prevalence in the most underprivileged households should be considered an indicator of vulnerability, which could permit targeted social assistance policies.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · BMC Public Health
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    • "This search yielded 391 hits. A total of 49 reviews were selected; after reading the summaries, 5 reviews (7, 9, 26, 27, 33) and 2 other papers (8, 10) were selected. A second literature search was performed in PubMed with the limitations: Humans, English, All Child: 0–18 years with limitations: English on (“hunger” or “hungry” or “food poverty”) and “HBSC”. "
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    ABSTRACT: To review the context of food insecurity in Greenlandic children, to review and compare the outcomes related to food insecurity in Greenlandic children, in other Arctic child populations and in other western societies, and to explore the measure used by the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. The study includes literature reviews, focus group interviews with children and analyses of data from the HBSC study. HBSC is an international cross-national school-based survey on child and adolescent health and health behaviour in the age groups 11, 13 and 15 years and performed in more than 40 countries. The item on food insecurity is "Some young people go to school or to bed hungry because there is not enough food in the home. How often does this happen to you?" (with the response options: "Always", "Often", "Sometimes", or "Never"). The context to food security among Inuit in Arctic regions was found to be very similar and connected to a westernization of the diet and contamination of the traditional diet. The major challenges are contamination, economic access to healthy food and socio-demographic differences in having a healthy diet. The literature on outcomes related to food insecurity in children in Western societies was reviewed and grouped based on 8 domains. Using data from the Greenlandic HBSC data from 2010, the item on food security showed negative associations on central items in all these domains. Focus group interviews with children revealed face and content validity of the HBSC item. Triangulation of the above-mentioned findings indicates that the HBSC measure of food shortage is a reliable indicator of food insecurity in Greenlandic schoolchildren. However, more research is needed, especially on explanatory and mediating factors.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013
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