Housing subsidies and pediatric undernutrition

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995 Oct;149(10):1079-84. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170230033004.


Objective: To test the hypothesis that receipt of housing subsidies by poor families is associated with improved nutritional status of their children.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Pediatric emergency department of an urban municipal hospital.

Patients: Convenience sample of 203 children younger than 3 years and their families who were being seen during one of twenty-seven 24-hour periods.

Main outcome measures: Anthropometric indicators (z scores of weight for age, weight-for-height, and height-for-age), and the proportion of children with low growth indicator (weight-for-height below the 10th percentile or height-for-age below the fifth percentile, or both, of the reference population).

Results: Multivariate analysis controlling for demographics and program participation showed that receipt of housing assistance contributed significantly to z scores for weight-for-age (P = .03) and weight-for-height (P = .04). The risk of a child's having low growth indicators was 21.6% for children whose families were on the waiting list for housing assistance compared with 3.3% for those whose families received subsidies (adjusted odds ratio = 8.2, 95% confidence interval = 2.2 to 30.4, P = .002)

Conclusion: Receiving a housing subsidy is associated with increased growth in children from low-income families, an effect that is consistent with a protective effect of housing subsidies against childhood undernutrition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child Nutrition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child Nutrition Disorders / etiology
  • Child Nutrition Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Status
  • Poverty*
  • Public Housing*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires