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Open AccessArticle

Child-Report of Food Insecurity Is Associated with Diet Quality in Children

Department of Nutritional Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78723, USA
Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth, School of Public Health in Austin, Austin, TX 78701, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1574;
Received: 4 June 2019 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 12 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Intake and Eating Behavior in Children)
Food insecurity (FI) is adversely associated with physical and mental wellbeing in children. The mechanism underlying this association is assumed to be dietary intake; however, evidence has been mixed. This study examined the relationship between self-reported FI and dietary quality among low-income children. Cross-sectional data were used from TX Sprouts, a school-based cooking, gardening, and nutrition intervention. A sample of 598 children completed two 24-h dietary recalls and a questionnaire including an adapted version of the 5-item Child Food Security Assessment (CFSA). Food security was categorized as food secure or FI based on summed CFSA scores. Dietary quality was assessed using the Health Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015). Mixed effects linear regression models examined associations between FI and dietary quality. Children were 64% Hispanic, 55% female, and were 9.2 years old on average. Adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, BMI percentile, and energy intake, FI was associated with lower HEI-2015 total scores (β = −3.17; 95% CI = −5.28, −1.06; p = 0.003). Compared to food secure children, FI children had lower greens and beans (2.3 vs. 1.9, p = 0.016), seafood and plant protein (2.0 vs. 1.6, p = 0.006), and added sugar (7.4 vs. 8.0, p = 0.002) component scores. Interventions targeting low-income and FI children should investigate ways to improve dietary quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: food security; food insecurity; diet quality; diet patterns; children; healthy eating index food security; food insecurity; diet quality; diet patterns; children; healthy eating index
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Landry, M.J.; van den Berg, A.E.; Asigbee, F.M.; Vandyousefi, S.; Ghaddar, R.; Davis, J.N. Child-Report of Food Insecurity Is Associated with Diet Quality in Children. Nutrients 2019, 11, 1574.

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