Poverty, food insecurity, and nutritional outcomes in children and adults

J Health Econ. 2004 Jul;23(4):839-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2003.12.008.


Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we examine the relationship between nutritional status, poverty, and food insecurity for household members of various ages. Our most striking result is that, while poverty is predictive of poor nutrition among preschool children, food insecurity does not provide any additional predictive power for this age group. Among school age children, neither poverty nor food insecurity is associated with nutritional outcomes, while among adults and the elderly, both food insecurity and poverty are predictive. These results suggest that researchers should be cautious about assuming connections between food insecurity and nutritional outcomes, particularly among children.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Collection
  • Food Supply*
  • Humans
  • Hunger
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Poverty*
  • United States