The Relationship Between Housing Instability and Poor Diet Quality Among Urban Families.Acad Pediatr. 2019 Nov - Dec; 19(8):891-898.APed
To examine associations between housing instability and poor diet quality in a sample of urban parents and children.
Cross-sectional study of 340 parent/guardian-child dyads visiting a pediatric primary care center in Boston, Massachusetts. The parent/guardian (hereafter, parent) completed 2 Harvard Service Food Frequency Questionnaires, one regarding their own dietary intake and one regarding their child's intake, and an assessment of health-related social needs. Diet quality was measured using the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010; score range 0-100). Housing instability was defined as: 1) homeless or in sheltered housing, 2) doubled up with another family, 3) utilities threatened or shut off, or 4) concerned about eviction. Multivariable logistic regression was used to measure associations between unstable housing and lowest-quartile HEI-2010 scores, adjusting for parent age, race/ethnicity, education, income, and child age.
Median (interquartile range) parent and child HEI-2010 scores were 63.8 (56.3-70.8) and 59.0 (54.2-64.7), respectively. Housing instability was found in 136 dyads (40%). In multivariable analysis, it was associated with increased odds of lowest-quartile total parent HEI-2010 scores (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.9; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.1-3.5) but not child scores (aOR, 1.4; 95% CI, 0.8-2.5). It also was associated with increased odds of lowest-quartile parent HEI-2010 dietary component scores for Total vegetables and Greens and beans (aOR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.1-3.7 and aOR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.3-4.8, respectively).
In this urban primary care population, housing instability is associated with lower diet quality scores for parents but not children. Lower vegetable consumption appears to drive this association.