Marginal, Low, and Very-Low Food Security among Children Are Associated with Intake of Select Dietary Factors during Summer

  • Jessica Soldavini
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Jessica Soldavini, MPH, RD, LDN, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1700 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7426.
    Affiliations
    Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
    Search for articles by this author
  • Alice S. Ammerman
    Affiliations
    Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
    Search for articles by this author
Published:December 05, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2020.11.010

      Abstract

      Background

      School meals are associated with improved food security status and dietary intake. Children receiving free and reduced-price school meals lose access to these meals during the summer. The association between food security status and dietary intake in these children during summer is unclear.

      Objective

      To examine the association between food security status (high, marginal, low, and very-low food security) among children and intake of select dietary factors during summer in children certified for free and reduced-price school meals by age group (3 to 4 years, 5 to 8 years, 9 to 12 years, and 13 to 17 years).

      Design

      Cross-sectional analysis.

      Participants/setting

      Secondary data from 11,873 children aged 3 to 17 years in the control group of the US Department of Agriculture Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children Demonstration Project.

      Main outcome measures

      Consumption of total fruits and vegetables; fruits and vegetables, excluding fried potatoes; whole grains; added sugars; added sugars, excluding cereals; added sugars from sugar-sweetened beverages; and dairy products assessed using questions from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Multifactor Diet Screener.

      Statistical analysis

      Multiple linear regression.

      Results

      For the majority of age groups, marginal food security, low food security, and very-low food security were associated with lower fruit and vegetable consumption and low food security and very-low food security were associated with lower dairy consumption, with children from households with very-low food security having the lowest consumption. Children from households with very-low food security consumed 0.73 (95% CI –0.93 to –0.53) to 0.99 (95% CI –1.59 to –0.39) cup equivalents less per day of fruits and vegetables and 0.49 (95% CI –0.65 to –0.34) to 0.68 (95% CI –1.07 to –0.29) cup equivalents less per day of dairy compared with children from households experiencing high food security.

      Conclusions

      Lower food security was associated with reduced consumption of fruits and vegetables and dairy products during summer in children from low-income households.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      J. Soldavini is a graduate research assistant, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill.

      Biography

      A. S. Ammerman is director, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill.

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