Effects of Food Insecurity on Fast Food Consumption
Dinh, Anh Mai
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Introduction: The purposes of this study were: (1) to document the prevalence of food insecurity in a university based pediatric dentistry clinic, (2) to describe factors related to food insecurity, and (3) to determine the association between food insecurity and fast food consumption. Methods: English-speaking parents/ caregivers of children presenting for dental care at The Center for Pediatric Dentistry (CPD) in Seattle (WA) were recruited (N=212). Caregivers completed a 36-item survey, which included a validated USDA food security questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were determined for all variables. T-tests and Chi-square tests were used to test associations between food insecurity and fast food consumption. Logistic regression with robust variance estimation was used to further evaluate this association between food insecurity and fast food consumption after adjusting for potential confounders. In addition, multivariate logistic regression with robust variance estimates was used to determine associations with covariates of interest and fast food consumption. Results: Two hundred twelve subjects participated in this study. The mean age was 39.7 years (SD = 9.7). The majority was female (77%), White (58%), born in the United States (69%), married (56%), and had public dental insurance (63%) Almost half (46%) had some college education or vocational training. Twenty seven percent had an annual income of more than $50,000. Twenty-eight percent of the families were food insecure. After adjusting for these covariates, the following factors were significantly associated with food insecurity: loss of job (OR=3.82, 95% CI =1.24-11.76), poor mental health status (OR=2.58, 95% Cl=1.09-6.10), housing insecurity (OR=3.01, 95% CI=1.22-7.44) and annual household income p=0.007. After adjusting for the covariates, public dental insurance became significantly associated with fast food consumption (OR=0.33, 95% CI=0.13-0.84). There was no statistically significant association between food insecurity and fast food consumption (p=0.531). Conclusions: The prevalence of food insecure households was 28% at CPD. Factors associated with insecurity included: housing instability, lost job within the last year, poor mental health, and income. There was no statistically significant association between food insecurity and fast food consumption.
- Dentistry