Objective: To examine the association of household food insecurity with child self- or proxy-reported health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
Design: Cross-sectional telephone survey from January 1, 2000, through June 30, 2000.
Participants: Three hundred ninety-nine children who live in 36 counties of the Delta region of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Main outcome measures: Household food insecurity status was measured using the US Household Food Security Scale. Child HRQOL was measured by the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory, QL version 4.0. Analysis Summary statistics, linear and logistic regressions, incorporating survey weights, performed with SUDAAN version 8.
Results: Household food insecurity was significantly associated with total child HRQOL (P<.05) and physical function (P<.05), adjusted for child age, ethnicity, gender, and family income. Children aged 3 through 8 years in food insecure households were reported by parents to have lower physical function (P = .001), while children aged 12 through 17 years reported lower psychosocial function (P = .007). Black males in food insecure households reported lower physical function (P<.05) and lower total HRQOL (P<.05).
Conclusions: Children who live in food insecure households have poorer HRQOL. The effect on physical or psychosocial function may differ by age, ethnicity, and gender. Food security should be considered an important risk factor for child health.