Ethnicity, Household Food Security, and Nutrition and Activity Patterns in Families With Preschool Children

Lila Asfour, Ruby A Natale, Susan Uhlhorn, Kristopher Arheart, Kanathy Haney, Sarah Messiah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: This study evaluated the relationship between food security and child nutritional intake, sedentary behavior, and body mass index (BMI) and potential moderation by ethnic subgroup membership. Design: Cross-sectional data analysis from baseline data of a preschool intervention trial. Setting: Twenty-eight subsidized childcare centers in Miami-Dade County, FL. Participants: Children ages 2 to 5 (n = 1,211) and their caregivers. Main Outcome Measure: The BMI percentile and the following 4 factors (via confirmatory factor analysis): food security, consumption of fruits/vegetables, consumption of unhealthy foods, and sedentary behaviors. Analysis: Separate linear mixed models tested relationships between food security and main outcome measures with an interaction term to test for possible moderation by ethnicity. Results: Results indicated a significant relationship (P <.05) between food security and child consumption of fruit/vegetables, consumption of unhealthy foods, and sedentary behavior, but not with BMI percentile. With greater food security, Haitians reported greater consumption of fruit/vegetables and sedentary behavior. With greater food security, Cubans and non-Hispanic whites reported less consumption of unhealthy foods, while Haitians reported greater consumption. Conclusions and Implications: Results showed higher food security was associated with higher consumption of fruit/vegetables, consumption of unhealthy foods, and sedentary behavior, but this was moderated by ethnicity. Implications for healthy weight interventions among low-income preschoolers should focus on the importance of food security and tailor intervention strategies for diverse ethnic groups accordingly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-505.e1
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

Keywords

  • Early childhood
  • Food insecurity
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Preschool children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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