Food insecurity and BMI: exploring mechanisms among American children

Lori Kowaleski-Jones, University of Utah
Jessie X. Fan, University of Utah
Ming Wen, University of Utah

Food insecurity is an issue for approximately 16 million children in the U.S. The effects of food insecurity on the development of U.S. children remain an open research issue. Food insecurity may be associated with either decreases in diet quality or increases in energy density which could lead to accelerated weight gain in children. The relationship between household food insecurity and childhood overweight has mixed support in the research literature. Using data from the NHANES 2007-2008 release, this study examines three related research questions: 1) Does household food insecurity affect child BMI? 2) What are the mechanisms by which food insecurity affects children’s BMI? And 3) Do these relationships vary by gender? Results suggest positive associations between food insecurity and child BMI but only for girls not boys. There is preliminary evidence to suggest connections among food insecurity, family meals and child BMI.

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Presented in Poster Session 2