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Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Dietary intakes of children from food insecure households

item Dave, Jayna
item Cullen, Karen

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2012
Publication Date: 2/24/2012
Citation: Dave, J., Cullen, K.W. 2012. Dietary intakes of children from food insecure households. Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk. 3(7):1-15.

Interpretive Summary: A consistent relationship between food insecurity and poor health status has been demonstrated across a wide range of literature. Food insecurity has two categories: low food security (LFS) or very low food security (VLFS). The objective of this descriptive paper is to compare the dietary behaviors of children from LFS households with children from VLFS households over an entire day and during meals specifically consumed at home. Based on the definitions of LFS and VLFS, it was hypothesized that children from VLFS group would have lower dietary intakes compared to children from the LFS group. However, this study found little difference. Speculations have been made for these findings and implications for research have been presented.

Technical Abstract: Our study used the cross-sectional data method where data was collected as part of a larger longitudinal study with 120 low-income children, 9 to 12 years old. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas. Parents provided written consent for themselves and their children, and children provided assent. The method of the study required participation from 150 children, of which 120 agreed to participate. Data were collected in Fall 2010 from the 120 children and their parents. These children were enrolled in a local community-based after-school program. Parents of the recruited children completed a demographic questionnaire along with a food security questionnaire. Children completed 24-hour dietary recalls in-person at the centers. The results of the 120 children yieled data 107 children, of which a very small percentage (5%) were from food secure households and therefore were excluded from the analyses. All variables for the remaining 102 participants were checked for normality. Of the 102 children, 40 reported consuming a snack at home (27 LFS vs. 13 VLFS), 98 reported consuming dinner at home (64 LFS vs. 34 VLFS), and 99 reported consuming breakfast at home (65 LFS vs. 34 VLFS). As seen in Tables 3, 4, and 5, there were no significant differences found in the nutrient and food group intakes for any of the meals at home except for vitamin C, which had a higher consumption among LFS group compared to VLFS group during breakfast (p=0.04).