Recent findings concerning childhood food insecurity

Meredith Kursmark, Michael Weitzman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Food insecurity is a relatively new measure of household and child malnutrition. This paper reviews recent studies that have examined aspects of its etiology and adverse child health and development. RECENT FINDINGS: Smoking by adults in children's homes has recently been found to be highly associated with childhood food insecurity. Much recent research has also examined the relationship between food insecurity and childhood obesity, and thus far, whereas suggestive, results are conflicting. Some studies have found that parenting practices and parental depression are factors that link household food insecurity with childhood obesity. Other health outcomes recently shown to be associated with food insecurity include undernutrition, decreased mental proficiency, increased developmental risk, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and poor health status. Most of the studies of food insecurity to date have come from the USA. There is, however, absolutely no reason to believe that this measure, and the negative child health outcomes associated with it, does not apply to other developed nations. Similarly, it is likely that children and families living in developing countries suffer a greater prevalence and severity of food insecurity and its negative consequences. SUMMARY: Childhood food insecurity has numerous significant negative effects on childhood health and development, may be associated with obesity, and occurs much more often in impoverished homes with adult smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-316
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Children
  • Food insecurity
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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