Food insufficiency, family income, and health in US preschool and school-aged children

Am J Public Health. 2001 May;91(5):781-6. doi: 10.2105/ajph.91.5.781.


Objectives: This study investigated associations between family income, food insufficiency, and health among US preschool and school-aged children.

Methods: Data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed. Children were classified as food insufficient if the family respondent reported that the family sometimes or often did not get enough food to eat. Regression analyses were conducted with health measures as the outcome variables. Prevalence rates of health variables were compared by family income category, with control for age and gender. Odds ratios for food insufficiency were calculated with control for family income and other potential confounding factors.

Results: Low-income children had a higher prevalence of poor/fair health status and iron deficiency than high-income children. After confounding factors, including poverty status, had been controlled, food-insufficient children were significantly more likely to have poorer health status and to experience more frequent stomachaches and headaches than food-sufficient children; preschool food-insufficient children had more frequent colds.

Conclusions: Food insufficiency and low family income are health concerns for US preschool and school-aged children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Hunger*
  • Income*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Poverty
  • Risk
  • United States