Article

Household Food Insecurity and Overweight Status in Young School Children: Results From the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study

School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 02/2006; 117(2):464-73. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2005-0582
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Recent work on the determinants of obesity has shown a positive association between household food insecurity and overweight status in adult women, yet research exploring this issue in children has been inconclusive. In this study we examine the association between food insecurity and overweight status in young school children by using a large, nationally representative sample.
Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) were analyzed. Replicate heights and weights were measured on kindergarten children (N = 16889) in the spring of 1999. Children with a body mass index > or = 95th percentile of their gender-specific BMI-for-age chart were considered overweight. Food-insecurity status was assessed by using the full 18-question US Department of Agriculture Household Food Security Scale. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between overweight and food-insecurity status while controlling for potential demographic, socioeconomic, and behavioral confounders.
Overall, 11.2% of the girls and 11.8% of the boys were overweight. Children from food-insecure households were 20% less likely to be overweight than their food-secure counterparts. Similar results on the food-insecurity/overweight link were found across a range of different models and expressions for key variables. Positive predictors of overweight status included low physical activity, television watching for > 2 hours/day, high birth weight, black or Latino ethnicity, and low income.
There are strong arguments for reducing food insecurity among households with young children. This research suggests that these arguments would be based on reasons other than a potential link to obesity. Low activity levels and excessive television watching, however, were strongly related to overweight status, a finding that supports continued efforts to intervene in these areas.

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    • "Similarly, recent studies in Canada and the United States have reported a positive association between food insecurity and childhood obesity [20-22]. However, other studies conducted in similar contexts (e.g., the United States and Mexico) reported negative [23-25] or no relationships between food insecurity and childhood obesity [26,27,62]. As Gundersen and colleagues (2008) suggested, these inconsistencies may be explained by differences in the way food insecurity was measured. "
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    ABSTRACT: Childhood overweight is not restricted to developed countries: a number of lower- and middle-income countries are struggling with the double burden of underweight and overweight. Another public health problem that concerns both developing and, to a lesser extent, developed countries is food insecurity. This study presents a comparative gender-based analysis of the association between household food insecurity and overweight among 10-to-11-year-old children living in the Canadian province of Québec and in the country of Jamaica. Analyses were performed using data from the 2008 round of the Québec Longitudinal Study of Child Development and the Jamaica Youth Risk and Resiliency Behaviour Survey of 2007. Cross-sectional data were obtained from 1190 10-year old children in Québec and 1674 10-11-year-old children in Jamaica. Body mass index was derived using anthropometric measurements and overweight was defined using Cole's age- and sex-specific criteria. Questionnaires were used to collect data on food insecurity. The associations were examined using chi-square tests and multivariate regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals. The prevalence of overweight was 26% and 11% (p < 0.001) in the Québec and Jamaican samples, respectively. In Québec, the adjusted odds ratio for being overweight was 3.03 (95% CI: 1.8-5.0) among children living in food-insecure households, in comparison to children living in food-secure households. Furthermore, girls who lived in food-insecure households had odds of 4.99 (95% CI: 2.4-10.5) for being overweight in comparison to girls who lived in food-secure households; no such differences were observed among boys. In Jamaica, children who lived in food-insecure households had significantly lower odds (OR 0.65, 95% CI: 0.4-0.9) for being overweight in comparison to children living in food-secure households. No gender differences were observed in the relationship between food-insecurity and overweight/obesity among Jamaican children. Public health interventions which aim to stem the epidemic of overweight/obesity should consider gender differences and other family factors associated with overweight/obesity in both developed and developing countries.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · BMC Public Health
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    • "For example, Wilde and Nord (2005) find that food stamps have a positive impact on food insecurity, even when controlling for individual-specific fixed effects. However, Yen, Andrews, Chen, and Eastwood (2008) find that food stamps reduce food insecurity, Gundersen and Oliveira (2001) find no significant relationship when controlling for adverse selection into the Food Stamp Program, and Gundersen and Kreider (2008) conclude that it is not clear food stamps and food insecurity are positively associated in the presence of reporting errors. 2 While food insecurity is often found to be positively associated with weight and obesity for adults (Townsend et al., 2001; Gibson, 2003), a couple of recent studies examining children and adolescents have found either no relationship (Bhargava, Jolliffe, and Howard 2008; Gundersen et al. 2008) or an inverse relationship (Rose and Bodor 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Poverty has historically been associated with a decrease in food consumption. This at least partially changed in 1964 when the Food Stamp Act began guaranteeing food for those in poverty. Since the act’s passage, the prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically, particularly among those with low incomes. This article examines the effects of the Food Stamp Program on the prevalence of obesity using 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data. Results indicate that food stamps have significant positive effects on obesity and the obesity gap for females, but these effects are relatively small, and consequently, such benefits are approximated to have played a minor role in increasing obesity at the aggregate level.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2011 · Southern Economic Journal
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    • "For example, Wilde and Nord (2005) find that food stamps have a positive impact on food insecurity, even when controlling for individual-specific fixed effects. However, Yen, Andrews, Chen, and Eastwood (2008) find that food stamps reduce food insecurity, Gundersen and Oliveira (2001) find no significant relationship when controlling for adverse selection into the Food Stamp Program, and Gundersen and Kreider (2008) conclude that it is not clear food stamps and food insecurity are positively associated in the presence of reporting errors. 2 While food insecurity is often found to be positively associated with weight and obesity for adults (Townsend et al., 2001; Gibson, 2003), a couple of recent studies examining children and adolescents have found either no relationship (Bhargava, Jolliffe, and Howard 2008; Gundersen et al. 2008) or an inverse relationship (Rose and Bodor 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence relating unemployment to health is found at every level of social science analysis from national population rates to individual psychophysiological stress response. At the population level of analysis, increase in the unemployment rate indicates recession and/or structural economic decline. At the individual level, unemployment is interpreted as a stressful life event. In both cases, inverse associations are found between measures of unemployment and indicators of health. We identify social science literatures associating health indicators with each of the following: economic growth, socioeconomic status, sociocultural change, economic instability, the status of being unemployed, social stress and work stress. Outstanding research issues include the requirements to identify and measure the effects of conditional factors and control variables in multivariate analysis and to examine a broader range of both severity of unemployment and severity of health outcomes. A research agenda proposes studies at the macro, meso and micro levels of analysis. We urge such research for its potential contribution both to analytic social science and to economic and social policy.
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