Food insecurity is associated with nutrient inadequacies among Canadian adults and adolescents
Authors: S. Kirkpatrick and V. Tarasuk
Household food insecurity constrains food selection, but whether the dietary compromises associated with this problem heighten the risk of nutrient inadequacies is unclear. The objectives of this study were to examine the relationship between household food security status and adults’ and children’s dietary intakes and to estimate the prevalence of nutrient inadequacies among adults and children, differentiating by household food security status. We analyzed 24-h recall and household food security data for persons aged 1-70 y from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey (cycle 2.2). The relationship between adults’ and children’s nutrient and food intakes and household food security status was assessed using regression analysis. Estimates of the prevalence of inadequate nutrient intakes by food security status and age/sex group were calculated using probability assessment methods. Poorer dietary intakes were observed among adolescents and adults in food-insecure households and many of the differences by food security status persisted after accounting for potential confounders in multivariate analyses. Higher estimated prevalences of nutrient inadequacy were apparent among adolescents and adults in food-insecure households, with the differences most marked for protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin B-12, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Among children, few differences in dietary intakes by household food security status were apparent and there was little indication of nutrient inadequacy. This study indicates that for adults and, to some degree, adolescents, food insecurity is associated with inadequate nutrient intakes. These findings highlight the need for concerted public policy responses to ameliorate household food insecurity.
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