Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2005
Publication Date: 4/1/2006
Citation: Cook, J.T., Frank, D.A., Levenson, S.M., Neault, N.B., Heeren, T.C., Black, M.M., Berkowitz, C., Casey, P.H., Meyers, A.F., Cutts, D.B., Chilton, M. 2006. Child food insecurity increases risks posed by household food insecurity to young children's health. American Society for Clinical Nutrition. 136(04):1073-1076. Interpretive Summary: Household food insecurity and child food insecurity are serious concerns with many implications for nutrition and health. This study examined if participation in the Food Stamp Program modified the effects of household and child food insecurity on young children’s health. Over 17,000 caregivers of 3-year-old children were interviewed in six urban medical centers about food security, demographics, child health status, and hospitalization. Household food insecurity and child food insecurity were associated with fair/poor health and hospitalizations of young children. Food stamp program participation reduced but did not eliminate effects of food insecurity on fair/poor health of young children.
Technical Abstract: The US Food Security Scale (USFSS) measures household and child food insecurity (CFI) separately. Our goal was to determine whether CFI increases risks posed by household food insecurity (HFI) to child health and whether the Food Stamp Program (FSP) modifies these effects. From 1998 to 2004, 17,158 caregivers of children ages 36 mo were interviewed in six urban medical centers. Interviews included demographics, the USFSS, child health status, and hospitalization history. Ten percent reported HFI, 12% HFI and CFI (H&CFI). Compared with food-secure children, those with HFI had significantly greater adjusted odds of fair/poor health and being hospitalized since birth, and those with H&CFI had even greater adverse effects. Participation in the FSP modified the effects of FI on child health status and hospitalizations, reducing, but not eliminating, them. Children in FSP-participating households that were HFI had lower adjusted odds of fair/poor health [1.37 (95% CI, 1.06–1.77)] than children in similar non-FSP households [1.61 (95% CI, 1.31–1.98)]. Children in FSP-participating households that were H&CFI also had lower adjusted odds of fair/poor health [1.72 (95% CI, 1.34–2.21)] than in similar non-FSP households [2.14 (95% CI, 1.81–2.54)]. HFI is positively associated with fair/poor health and hospitalizations in young children. With H&CFI, odds of fair/poor health and hospitalizations are even greater. Participation in FSP reduces, but does not eliminate, effects of FI on fair/poor health.