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Research Project: Preventing the Development of Childhood Obesity

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Regional variability in prevalence of food insecurity and diet quality among US children

item DAVE, JAYNA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item CHEN, TZU - University Of Houston
item CASTRO, ALEXANDRA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item WHITE, MAMIE - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2023
Publication Date: 6/16/2023
Citation: Dave, J.M., Chen, T.A., Castro, A.N., White, M.A., Thompson, D.J. 2023. Regional variability in prevalence of food insecurity and diet quality among US children [abstract]. International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) Annual Meeting. June 14-17, 2023; Uppsala, Sweden. Poster Presentation.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: With an increase in the number of low-income individuals and families from rural areas being food insecure in the US, there is a greater need for understanding the association between food security status (FSS) and dietary intake, including differences due to living in rural vs. urban residence, among these at-risk populations. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess the regional variability (urban vs. rural) in prevalence of food insecurity, federal nutrition assistance program (FNAP) participation, and diet quality among US children. This study employed National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data 2013-2016 with three age groups (2-5, 6-11, and 12-17 years old). The models were performed using SAS SURVEYREG/SURVEYFREQ procedure to account for the complex, stratified, multistage probability cluster sampling design. Multiple linear/logistic regression models were used to evaluate the association between the FSS and FNAP participation and the diet quality measures including Healthy Eating Index (HEI–2015) and its 13 subcomponents. In addition, the moderations effect of urban/rural residence were examined. Covariates included age, sex, race/ethnicity, and family monthly poverty index. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05. Total sample consisted of 6,403 children; mean age 7.5 years; 51% male; 33% Hispanic, and 64% normal weight. Child and household food insecurity was reported by 13% and 30% of the sample, respectively; 90% participated in SNAP and 88% in school lunch program. Relative to 6–11-year-old children living in rural areas, children living in urban areas were significantly more likely to report household food insecurity (29.15% vs. 19.10%). Overall, HEI-2015 score was 48.2. The associations between child/household FSS and the receipt of FNAP as well as between child/household FSS and diet quality (HEI and 13 subcomponents) did not differ by urban/rural residence status regardless of children's age groups. Diet quality of children, regardless of age or urban/rural residence, needs improvement. Children, especially those experiencing food insecurity in urban areas, are an important target group for future dietary interventions aiming to improve diet quality. Strategies for food security and diet quality improvement may include increased benefits for health food purchases within FNAP.