Food Insecurity Increases the Odds of Obesity Among Young Hispanic Children

Abstract

Obesity is a growing public health concern and is more prevalent among low-income and minority populations. Food insecurity may increase the odds of obesity in children. We investigated the association between food insecurity and obesity among low-income, Hispanic, mother–child dyads (n = 74). The United States Department of Agriculture 18-item Household Food Security Survey was used to determine food security status. The majority of households were food insecure (74 %) and one-third (30 %) of children were obese. Food insecurity increased the odds of childhood obesity (OR 10.2; 95 % CI 1.2, 85.5) with stronger associations found within households where mothers were also overweight/obese compared to normal weight (p-for interaction < 0.05). Rates of household food insecurity and childhood obesity were high among this low-income Hispanic sample. Future studies should elucidate the mechanisms through which food insecurity impacts childhood obesity.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Lakshmi Somasundaram and Olivia Cosides for assistance in collecting and compiling the data and the staff at La Comunidad Hispana for allowing us to use their facility and aiding the collection of data used for this study. We also would like to thank all the mother and child study participants; without their participation none of this would be possible.

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Correspondence to Mia A. Papas.

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Papas, M.A., Trabulsi, J.C., Dahl, A. et al. Food Insecurity Increases the Odds of Obesity Among Young Hispanic Children. J Immigrant Minority Health 18, 1046–1052 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-015-0275-0

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Keywords

  • Food insecurity
  • Childhood obesity
  • Hispanic
  • Maternal and child health