Rosas LG, Harley K, Fernald LC, Guendelman S, Mejia F, Neufeld LM, Eskenazi B., J Am Diet Assoc. 109(12):2001-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2009.09.004., 2009 Dec 01
AbstractBACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: Children of Mexican descent frequently experience household food insecurity both in the United States and Mexico. However, little is known about the associations of food insecurity with dietary intake. This study aimed to understand the level of perceived food insecurity and its association with dietary intake among children of Mexican descent residing in the United States and Mexico.
DESIGN: This cross-sectional study utilized data from a 2006 binational study of 5-year-old children of Mexican descent living in migrant communities in California and Mexico.
METHODS: In California, children were 301 participants from the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas study, a longitudinal birth cohort in a Mexican immigrant community. Mexican children (n=301) were participants in the Proyecto Mariposa study, which was designed to capture a sample of women and their children living in Mexico who closely resembled the California sample, yet who never migrated to the United States. Household food insecurity was measured using the US Department of Agriculture Food Security Scale and dietary intake was assessed with food frequency questionnaires. Analysis of variance was used to examine unadjusted and adjusted differences in total energy, nutrient intake, and consumption of food groups by household food security status.
RESULTS: Approximately 39% of California mothers and 75% of Mexico mothers reported low or very low food security in the past 12 months (P<0.01). Children in the United States experiencing food insecurity consumed more fat, saturated fat, sweets, and fried snacks than children not experiencing food insecurity. In contrast, in Mexico food insecurity was associated with lower intake of total carbohydrates, dairy, and vitamin B-6.
CONCLUSIONS: Programs and policies addressing food insecurity in the United States and Mexico may need to take steps to address dietary intake among children in households experiencing food insecurity, possibly through education and programs to increase resources to obtain healthful foods.