Food Security Among Families with Children with Special Health Care Needs
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Purpose: In 2012, 16.7 million (20.6%) of U.S. children lived in food-insecure households. Objectives of this study were to examine the association between household food security and presence of children with special health care needs (CSHCN) in a university-based pediatric dental clinic. Methods: Caregivers of patients under 18 years (n=142) at the University of Washington's Center for Pediatric Dentistry were surveyed about food security and CSHCN in their households. Results: Among households with CSHCN, 37% were food-insecure compared to 26% of households without CSHCN. Households with CSHCN with more health consequences had 2.59 higher odds of experiencing food insecurity compared to those without (95% CI 1.17, 5.72, p=0.019). This relationship was not significant after adjusting for covariates. Among households with CSHCN, those that were food-insecure reported significantly higher service use, functional limitations and need or use of mental health counseling in their CSHCN. Conclusions: Screening at dental visits identified a high proportion of families with food insecurity, particularly among some families with CSHCN. Screening for food insecurity may improve identification of needed services for children and their families.
- Health services