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J Nutr. 2008 Feb;138(2):371-8.

Child-specific food insecurity and overweight are not associated in a sample of 10- to 15-year-old low-income youth.

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Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


In the United States, 17% of children and adolescents are overweight and 20% live in a food insecure household. Previous studies examining the association between household food insecurity and overweight among children have been inconclusive but are limited insofar as they did not assess child-specific measures of food insecurity and overweight. In response, this study examined the association between food insecurity and child overweight status when these variables were measured for the same child using information on children (n = 1031) aged 10-15 y from the Three-City Study. Approximately 8% of the children were food insecure, whereas 50% were either at risk of overweight or overweight. Bivariate analyses indicated that there were no significant differences in the prevalence of at risk of overweight and overweight between food secure and food insecure children. Gender, race, and income showed similar patterns. Results from logistic regression analyses also indicated that the likelihood of being overweight or at risk of overweight was not significantly different for food secure and food insecure children. Although child-specific food insecurity was not associated with overweight in this sample of low-income children, food insecurity and overweight coexist among these low-income children, because approximately 25% of the food insecure children were overweight. Additional research is needed to explore the potential relationships between food insecurity and overweight and to better inform policy that attempts to address these issues among low-income households with children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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