Prevalence and Determinants of Food Insecurity and Its Impact on Diet Quality in African and Caribbean School-Aged Children in Ottawa

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Title: Prevalence and Determinants of Food Insecurity and Its Impact on Diet Quality in African and Caribbean School-Aged Children in Ottawa
Authors: Tarraf, Diana
Date: 2017
Embargo: 2019-01-12
Abstract: Purpose: Food insecurity is an important social determinant of health and is linked with higher health care costs. There is a high prevalence of food insecurity among recent immigrant households in Canada. The aim of the present project was to evaluate the prevalence of food insecurity in immigrant and non-immigrant households in Ottawa, to explore determinants of food insecurity in that population and to evaluate the link between food insecurity, diet quality and weight status. Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted with a convenience sample of 258 Ottawa households having a child between 6 and 12 years old, with a mother born in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean or Canada. Health Canada’s Household Food Security Survey Module was used to evaluate participants’ food access in the past 12 months. Children’s dietary intake was evaluated with the use of a 24-hour recall and a modified Healthy Eating Index diet quality score was calculated. Chi-square and logistic and linear regression analyses were used to determine correlates of food insecurity and its link with diet quality and weight status (n=249). Results: A high rate of food insecurity (39%) was found among participants. Household food insecurity was associated with low education attainment, lone motherhood, mother’s visible minority status, recent arrival to Canada, limited English fluency, reliance on social assistance, and subsidized/temporary/COOP housing. Food insecurity was associated with consumption of sweetened beverages, lower consumption of saturated fat among children, and with obesity among mothers. Conclusion: These findings suggest that food insecurity is associated with certain indicators of poor diet quality among children and with obesity among mothers. The findings also highlight the need for food insecurity to be explicitly addressed in immigrant integration strategies in order to improve the financial power of new immigrants to purchase sufficient, nutritious, and culturally acceptable foods. Enhancing immigrants’ access to affordable child care and well-paid jobs, improving social assistance programs, and providing more subsidized housing programs would be beneficial to help reduce food insecurity and increase diet quality.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/35717
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-674
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