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While economic crises can increase socio-economic disparities in health, little is known about the impact of the 2008–09 Great Recession on obesity prevalence among children, especially low-income children. The present study examined whether socio-economic disparities in obesity among children of pre-school age participating in a federal nutrition assistance programme have changed since the recession.
A pre–post observational study using administrative data of pre-school-aged programme participants from 2003 to 2014. Logistic regression was used to examine whether the relationship between obesity prevalence (BMI≥95th percentile of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s growth charts) and three measures of socio-economic status (household income, household educational attainment, neighbourhood-level median household income) changed after the recession by examining the interaction between each socio-economic status measure and a 5-year time-period variable (2003–07 v. 2010–14), stratified by child’s age and adjusted for child’s sociodemographic characteristics.
Los Angeles County, California, USA.
Children aged 2–4 years (n 1 637 788) participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
The magnitude of the association of household income and household education with obesity increased after 2008–09 among 3- and 4-year-olds and 2- and 3-year-olds, respectively. However, the magnitude of the association of neighbourhood-level median household income with obesity did not change after 2008–09.
Disparities in obesity by household-level socio-economic status widened after the recession, while disparities by neighbourhood-level socio-economic status remained the same. The widening household-level socio-economic disparities suggest that obesity prevention efforts should target the most vulnerable low-income children.
Previous studies have established that acculturation is associated with dietary intake among Mexican immigrants and their offspring, but few studies have investigated whether food purchasing, food preparation or food-related values act as mechanisms of dietary acculturation. We examine the relationship between language use and a wide range of food behaviours and food-related values among Mexican-American adults.
Nationally representative probability sample of the US population.
2005–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Mexican-American adults (n 2792) at least 20 years of age.
Mexican Americans who speak only or mostly English consume more energy from fast-food and sit-down restaurants and report increased consumption of non-homemade meals, fast-food and pizza meals, frozen meals and ready-to-eat meals relative to Spanish speakers. English speakers prepare one fewer homemade dinner per week and spend less time on meal preparation. English speakers are more likely than Spanish speakers to cite convenience as an important reason why they prefer fast food over cooking at home. There is no relationship between language use and the perceived importance of the nutritional quality, price or taste of fast food.
Our results provide evidence that the well-documented relationship between acculturation and diet among Mexican Americans may be just one indicator of a broader pattern characterized by decreased home meal preparation and increased reliance on convenience foods.
This paper examines trends in the neighbourhood food store environment (defined by the number and geographic density of food stores of each type in a neighbourhood), and in food consumption behaviour and overweight risk of 5779 men and women.
The study used data gathered by the Stanford Heart Disease Prevention Program in four cross-sectional surveys conducted from 1981 to 1990.
Four mid-sized cities in agricultural regions of California.
In total, 3154 women and 2625 men, aged 25–74 years.
From 1981 to 1990, there were large increases in the number and density of neighbourhood stores selling sweets, pizza stores, small grocery stores and fast-food restaurants. During this period, the percentage of women and men who adopted healthy food behaviours increased but so did the percentage who adopted less healthy food behaviours. The percentage who were obese increased by 28% in women and 24% in men.
Findings point to increases in neighbourhood food stores that generally offer mostly unhealthy foods, and also to the importance of examining other food pattern changes that may have a substantial impact on obesity, such as large increases in portion sizes during the 1980s.
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