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Education is a crucial social determinant of health. Food insecurity can be detrimental to children’s academic achievement, potentially perpetuating a cycle of poverty and food insecurity. We aimed to assess the relationship between food insecurity and academic achievement in Canadian school-aged children.
Cross-sectional study of children and parents. Parents completed the short-form Household Food Security Survey Module and questions about income and education level (socio-economic status). Children completed FFQ. Data were prospectively linked to children’s performance on standardized exams written one year later. Mixed-effect logistic regression was employed to assess the relationship between food insecurity and likelihood of meeting academic expectations adjusting for socio-economic status, diet quality and potential confounders.
Nova Scotia, Canada in 2011–2012.
Students (n 4105) in grade 5 (10–11 years; 2167 girls) and their parents.
Low food security was reported by 9·8 % of households; very low food security by 7·1 % of households. Students from low-income households and reporting poor diet quality were less likely to do well in school. Children who lived in households reporting very low food security had 0·65 times the odds (OR=0·65; 95 % CI 0·44, 0·96) of meeting expectations for reading and 0·62 times the odds (OR=0·62; 95 % CI 0·45, 0·86) of meeting expectations for mathematics.
Very low household insecurity is associated with poor academic achievement among children in Nova Scotia.
Approximately half of the variation in wellbeing measures overlaps with variation in personality traits. Studies of non-human primate pedigrees and human twins suggest that this is due to common genetic influences. We tested whether personality polygenic scores for the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) domains and for item response theory (IRT) derived extraversion and neuroticism scores predict variance in wellbeing measures. Polygenic scores were based on published genome-wide association (GWA) results in over 17,000 individuals for the NEO-FFI and in over 63,000 for the IRT extraversion and neuroticism traits. The NEO-FFI polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction in 7 cohorts, positive affect in 12 cohorts, and general wellbeing in 1 cohort (maximal N = 46,508). Meta-analysis of these results showed no significant association between NEO-FFI personality polygenic scores and the wellbeing measures. IRT extraversion and neuroticism polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction and positive affect in almost 37,000 individuals from UK Biobank. Significant positive associations (effect sizes <0.05%) were observed between the extraversion polygenic score and wellbeing measures, and a negative association was observed between the polygenic neuroticism score and life satisfaction. Furthermore, using GWA data, genetic correlations of -0.49 and -0.55 were estimated between neuroticism with life satisfaction and positive affect, respectively. The moderate genetic correlation between neuroticism and wellbeing is in line with twin research showing that genetic influences on wellbeing are also shared with other independent personality domains.
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.