Food insecurity, the home food environment, and parent feeding practices in the era of COVID-19.Obesity (Silver Spring). 2020 Aug 06 [Online ahead of print]O
To describe changes in families' home food environment and parent feeding practices, from before to during COVID-19, and examine if changes differed by food security status.
Parents (N=584) in the US completed a single online survey, reporting on food security, home food availability, and feeding practices both retrospectively (considering before COVID-19) and currently (during COVID-19). Chi-squares and univariate regressions examined associations by food security status.
The percent of families reporting very low food security increased by 20% from before to during COVID-19 (p<0.01). About one-third of families increased the amount of high-calorie snack foods, desserts/sweets, and fresh foods in their home; 47% increased non-perishable processed foods. Concern about child overweight increased during COVID-19, with a greater increase for food insecure vs. secure parents (p<0.01). Use of restriction, pressure to eat, and monitoring increased, with a greater increase in pressure to eat for parents with food insecurity compared to food secure parents (p<0.05).
During COVID-19, increases in very low food security and changes in the home food environment and parent feeding practices were observed. Results highlight the need to address negative impacts of COVID-19 on children's obesity risk, particularly among those facing health disparities.