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Food security, maternal stressors, and overweight among low-income US children: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2002).
Pediatrics 2008; 122(3):e529-40Ped

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

A high proportion of children in the United States are overweight, suffer from food insecurity, and live in households facing maternal stressors. The objective of this article was to identify the associations of food insecurity and maternal stressors with childhood overweight among low-income children. We hypothesized that maternal stressors may exacerbate the relationship between food insecurity and child obesity.

METHODS

The sample included 841 children (3-17 years old) and their mothers with incomes below 200% of the poverty line from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Food insecurity was based on US Department of Agriculture protocol, maternal stressors were assessed from survey questions, and BMI was used to classify weight status. Probit regression models predicted the probability of a child being overweight or obese.

RESULTS

In most specifications, there was no direct association between food insecurity or maternal stressors and overweight for children of any age. Among 3- to 10-year-olds, the interaction of food insecurity and maternal stressors was significantly linked to the probability of being overweight; more specifically, an increase in maternal stressors amplified a food secure child's probability of being overweight or obese. This result is robust to alternative specifications. However, these results were not found among 11- and 17-year-old youth.

CONCLUSIONS

Younger children in food secure, low-income households in the United States who are experiencing higher levels of maternal stressors have a greater probability of being overweight than food insecure children. This finding was contrary to the hypothesis; 3 reasons for this are covered in the article. Those who create policies that address childhood obesity could consider the benefits to low-income children's well-being resulting from reducing their mothers' stressors. Because most children in the United States are food secure, these policies could have a profound impact on childhood overweight.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois, 324 Mumford Hall, 1301 West Gregory Dr, Urbana, IL 61801-3605, USA. cggunder@illinois.eduNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

18762488

Citation

Gundersen, Craig, et al. "Food Security, Maternal Stressors, and Overweight Among Low-income US Children: Results From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2002)." Pediatrics, vol. 122, no. 3, 2008, pp. e529-40.
Gundersen C, Lohman BJ, Garasky S, et al. Food security, maternal stressors, and overweight among low-income US children: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2002). Pediatrics. 2008;122(3):e529-40.
Gundersen, C., Lohman, B. J., Garasky, S., Stewart, S., & Eisenmann, J. (2008). Food security, maternal stressors, and overweight among low-income US children: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2002). Pediatrics, 122(3), pp. e529-40. doi:10.1542/peds.2008-0556.
Gundersen C, et al. Food Security, Maternal Stressors, and Overweight Among Low-income US Children: Results From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2002). Pediatrics. 2008;122(3):e529-40. PubMed PMID: 18762488.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Food security, maternal stressors, and overweight among low-income US children: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2002). AU - Gundersen,Craig, AU - Lohman,Brenda J, AU - Garasky,Steven, AU - Stewart,Susan, AU - Eisenmann,Joey, PY - 2008/9/3/pubmed PY - 2008/9/17/medline PY - 2008/9/3/entrez SP - e529 EP - 40 JF - Pediatrics JO - Pediatrics VL - 122 IS - 3 N2 - OBJECTIVE: A high proportion of children in the United States are overweight, suffer from food insecurity, and live in households facing maternal stressors. The objective of this article was to identify the associations of food insecurity and maternal stressors with childhood overweight among low-income children. We hypothesized that maternal stressors may exacerbate the relationship between food insecurity and child obesity. METHODS: The sample included 841 children (3-17 years old) and their mothers with incomes below 200% of the poverty line from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Food insecurity was based on US Department of Agriculture protocol, maternal stressors were assessed from survey questions, and BMI was used to classify weight status. Probit regression models predicted the probability of a child being overweight or obese. RESULTS: In most specifications, there was no direct association between food insecurity or maternal stressors and overweight for children of any age. Among 3- to 10-year-olds, the interaction of food insecurity and maternal stressors was significantly linked to the probability of being overweight; more specifically, an increase in maternal stressors amplified a food secure child's probability of being overweight or obese. This result is robust to alternative specifications. However, these results were not found among 11- and 17-year-old youth. CONCLUSIONS: Younger children in food secure, low-income households in the United States who are experiencing higher levels of maternal stressors have a greater probability of being overweight than food insecure children. This finding was contrary to the hypothesis; 3 reasons for this are covered in the article. Those who create policies that address childhood obesity could consider the benefits to low-income children's well-being resulting from reducing their mothers' stressors. Because most children in the United States are food secure, these policies could have a profound impact on childhood overweight. SN - 1098-4275 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/18762488/Food_security_maternal_stressors_and_overweight_among_low_income_US_children:_results_from_the_National_Health_and_Nutrition_Examination_Survey__1999_2002__ L2 - http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=18762488 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -