Stability of food insecurity status in paediatric primary care

Public Health Nutr

Objective: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening for food insecurity (FI) at all well-child visits due to well-documented negative effects of experiencing FI in childhood. Before age 3, children have twelve recommended primary care visits at which screening could occur. Little is known regarding the stability of FI status at this frequency of screening.

Design: Data derived from electronic health records were used to retrospectively examine the stability of household FI status. Age-stratified (infant v. toddler) analyses accounted for age-based differences in visit frequency. Regression models with time since last screening as the predictor of FI transitions were estimated via generalised estimating equations adjusting for age and race/ethnicity.

Setting: A paediatric primary care practice in Philadelphia.

Participants: 3451 distinct patients were identified whose health record documented two or more household FI screens between April 1, 2012 and July 31, 2018 and were aged 0-3 years at first screen.

Results: Overall, 9·5 % of patients had a transition in household FI status, with a similar frequency of transitioning from food insecure to secure (5·0 %) and from food secure to insecure (4·5 %). Families of toddlers whose last screen was more than a year ago were more likely to experience a transition to FI compared with those screened 0-6 months prior (OR 1·91 (95 % CI 1·05, 3·47)).

Conclusions: Screening more than annually may not contribute substantially to the identification of transitions to FI.

Courts KA, Hubbard RA, Kersten HB, Klusaritz H. Stability of food insecurity status in paediatric primary care [published online ahead of print, 2020 Aug 19]. Public Health Nutr. 2020;1-6. PMID: 32811587. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980020002281.

Publication Year: 
Resource Type: 
Peer Reviewed Research
Study Design: 
Other Study Design
Social Determinant of Health: 
Children and Youth
Social Needs/ SDH
Screening Research: