Objective: To compare exposure to household food insufficiency and the relationship between household food insufficiency and both health status and emergency healthcare utilisation among children with and without special healthcare needs (SHCN).
Design: Analysing pooled data from the 2016-2017 iterations of the National Survey of Children's Health, we conducted multivariate logistic regressions on household food insufficiency, health status and emergency healthcare utilisation. We assessed interactions between household food insufficiency and children's SHCN status in our models of health status and utilisation.
Setting: United States.
Participants: Parents of a nationally representative sample of non-institutionalised children (aged 0-17 years).
Results: Children with SHCN were more likely to experience household food insufficiency (70 v. 56 %), non-excellent health status (67 v. 28 %) and emergency healthcare utilisation (32 v. 18 %) than other children. Household food insufficiency was associated with 37 % (children with SHCN) and 19 % (children without SHCN) reductions in the likelihood of having excellent health. Household food insufficiency was associated with a roughly equal (16-19 %) increase in the likelihood of emergency department utilisation across groups.
Conclusions: Compared with other children, children with SHCN have an elevated risk of exposure to household food insufficiency and experiencing greater reductions in health status when exposed.
Keywords: Children; Food insufficiency; Health status; Healthcare utilisation; Special healthcare needs.