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Prevalence of food insecurity among military households with children 5 years of age and younger

  • Sarah Grenier Wax (a1) and Susan M Stankorb (a2)

Abstract

Objective

Food insecurity increases risk of health conditions that may decrease military readiness. The aim of the present study was to define the prevalence of food insecurity among households with young children utilizing military installation childcare facilities and to describe household characteristics associated with food insecurity among this population.

Design

Cross-sectional survey including demographic questions and the US Department of Agriculture Food Security Survey Module six-item short form given to households (n 248) enrolled in Joint Base San Antonio Child Development Centers (JBSA-CDC) during the spring of 2015.

Subjects

Department of Defense families with at least one child less than 6 years old enrolled in a JBSA-CDC.

Settings

Joint Base San Antonio, TX, USA.

Results

Nearly one in seven families reported food insecurity. Households were more likely to be food-insecure if the head of household’s highest level of education was high school or equivalent (P=0·003) and if the head of household was unmarried/unpartnered (P=0·001). Among food-insecure households headed by military service members, all were junior enlisted or non-commissioned officers (E1–E9). Food-insecure households were less likely to live off-post in owned or rented homes compared with those who were food-secure (P=0·016). Other characteristics associated with food insecurity included at least one family member enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (P=0·020) and more children in the household (P=0·029). Few families reported enrolment in government supplemental food programmes.

Conclusions

Food insecurity is prevalent in military families. Targeted interventions and policies can be developed using the demographic risk factors identified in the present study.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Email sarah.g.wax.mil@mail.mil

References

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