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Food Insecurity Is Linked to Dietary Intake but Not Growth of Children in the Caribbean



Objective: To examine food insecurity and its relationship with children’s nutritional health.

Methods: The data for the 390 children, aged 7–12 years and their caregivers, recruited from eight schools in Trinidad and seven schools in St. Kitts in 2013–2014 from a study dealing with food and nutrition security were used for this study. Food insecurity was assessed using the USDA’s Household Food Security Survey Module, and 24-hour dietary recall of the children was assessed in home interviews. The children’s height and weight were measured, and a capillary blood sample was collected at their schools.

Results: Overall, 41.5% of the caregivers reported household food insecurity, with 15% of the children living in households with very low food security. Daily intakes of protein and zinc were higher among the children from the ‘food secure’ vs the ‘food insecure’ households (protein, 59.6 ± 31.5 g vs 50.9 ± 24.4 g, p = 0.003; zinc, 7.33 ± 5.02 mg vs 6.20 ± 3.47 mg, p = 0.004, respectively). There were no other differences in their dietary intake. The children’s body mass index z-score, weight status and height-for-age z-score were not associated with their food security status, and there was no evidence of stunting in either group. Anaemia, however, was prevalent (30%) and higher among the children from the food insecure households (39% vs 23%; p = 0.002).

Conclusion: Household food insecurity was was associated with lower intakes of some nutrients, and anaemia rates were higher among the children living in food insecure households but food insecurity was not related to the indicators of growth or weight status.

11 Aug, 2017
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e-Published: 15 Aug, 2017
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