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We explored how positive and negative life experiences of caregivers are associated with household food insecurity.
The Midlands Family Study (MFS) was a cross-sectional study with three levels of household food security: food secure, food insecure without child hunger and food insecure with child hunger. Ordinal logistic regression analysis was used for analyses of negative and positive life experiences (number, impact, type) associated with food insecurity.
An eight-county region in South Carolina, USA, in 2012–2013.
Caregivers (n 511) in households with children.
Caregivers who reported greater numbers of negative life experiences and greater perceived impact had increased odds of household food insecurity and reporting their children experienced hunger. Each additional negative life experience count of the caregiver was associated with a 16 % greater odds of food insecurity without child hunger and a 28 % greater odds of child hunger. Each one-unit increase in the negative impact score (e.g. a worsening) was associated with 8 % higher odds of food insecurity without child hunger and 12 % higher odds of child hunger. Negative work experiences or financial instability had the strongest association (OR = 1·8; 95 % CI 1·5, 2·2) with child hunger. Positive life experiences were generally not associated with food security status, with one exception: for each unit increase in the number of positive experiences involving family and other relationships, the odds of child hunger decreased by 22 %.
More research is needed to understand approaches to build resilience against negative life experiences and strengthen positive familial, community and social relationships.
To examine the association of both perceived and geographic neighbourhood food access with food security status among households with children.
This was a cross-sectional study in which participants’ perceptions of neighbourhood food access were assessed by a standard survey instrument, and geographic food access was evaluated by distance to the nearest supermarket. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to examine the associations.
The Midlands Family Study included 544 households with children in eight counties in South Carolina, USA. Food security status among participants was classified into three categories: food secure (FS), food insecure (FI) and very low food security among children (VLFS-C).
Compared with FS households, VLFS-C households had lower odds of reporting easy access to adequate food shopping. VLFS-C households also had lower odds of reporting neighbourhood access to affordable fruits and vegetables compared with FS households and reported worse selection of fruits and vegetables, quality of fruits and vegetables, and selection of low-fat products. FI households had lower odds of reporting fewer opportunities to purchase fast food. None of the geographic access measures was significantly associated with food security status.
Caregivers with children who experienced hunger perceived that they had less access to healthy affordable food in their community, even though grocery stores were present. Approaches to improve perceived access to healthy affordable food should be considered as part of the overall approach to improving food security and eliminating child hunger.
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