In a recent study, higher rates of food insecurity were found among low-income families with children in the United States.
Changes are occurring in the magnitude and dynamics of food insecurity over time, according to a recent study.
Food insecurity was found among children in 7.6% of all households in 2020. Adverse outcomes associated with childhood food insecurity include depression, anxiety, poorer diet quality, higher diabetes and obesity rates, and worse academic performance.
To analyze trends from 2015 to 2019 in comparison to those from 1999 to 2003, investigators conducted a survey study with data gathered from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Families participating in all 3 waves of each period were compared.
The Household Food Security Survey Module (HFSSM), developed by the US Department of Agriculture, was used to measure food insecurity. As the PSID did not gather HFSSM data from 2005 to 2013, food security status cannot be measured during this period.
Families were defined as either food insecure or not high food secure. Categories ranged from 0, meaning always secure or high food secure, to 3, meaning never food secure or high food secure.
Of the 12.1% of families who reported food insecurity during any of the 3 waves from 1999 to 2003, almost half experienced 1 or more additional waves of food insecurity. In comparison, 4.5% of all families experienced food insecurity throughout all 3 waves of the 2015 to 2019 period, which is more than double the 1999 to 2003 period.
Higher levels of chronic food insecurity were seen among low-income families compared to other families from 1999 to 2003, at 8.8% of low-income families with children versus 2.1% of all families and 3.7% of all families with children. From 2015 to 2019, these rates rose, reaching 10.9% of low-income families with children, 4.5% of all families and 4.8% of all families with children.
Only 33.1% of low-income families with children always reported high food security from 2015 to 2019, while 25% of families in this group never reported high food security in this period.
Insolera N. Chronic food insecurity in US Families with children. JAMA Pediatr. 2023. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.5820