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Food security (FS) exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their needs. The present research sought to determine whether students from households experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity (FI) had poorer diet quality, higher body weights and poorer psychosocial outcomes than students from households classed as having high FS or marginal FI status.
Population-based survey conducted in schools. Multiple regression analysis was used to explore associations between FS status (high FS; marginal, moderate, severe FI), dietary behaviours and intake, and health-related outcomes (body weight, quality of life, mood, peer relationships, externalizing problems).
Nova Scotia, Canada.
Grade 5 students (n 5853), aged 10–11 years, with complete information on FS status and student outcomes.
In this sample, rates of household FS were 73·5 % (high FS), 8·3 % (marginal FI) 10·2 % (moderate FI) and 7·1 % (severe FI status). Students living in households experiencing moderate or severe FI had poorer diet quality, higher BMI and poorer psychosocial outcomes than students classed as having high FS or marginal FI.
These findings provide important evidence for policy makers on the prevalence of FI among families in Nova Scotia with grade 5 children and its relationship with childhood nutrition, psychosocial and quality of life factors, and weight status.
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