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Hunger in young children of Mexican immigrant families

  • Margaret Kersey (a1), Joni Geppert (a1) and Diana B Cutts (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980007334071
  • Published online: 01 April 2007
Abstract
AbstractObjective

To measure rates of hunger and food insecurity among young US-born Latino children with Mexican immigrant parents (Latinos) compared with a non-immigrant non-Latino population (non-Latinos) in a low-income clinic population.

Design, setting and subjects

A repeated cross-sectional survey of 4278 caregivers of children < 3 years of age in the paediatric clinic of an urban county hospital for a 5-year period from 1998 to 2003. A total of 1310 respondents had a US-born child with at least one parent born in Mexico. They were compared with a reference group comprised of non-Latino US-born participants (n = 1805). Child hunger and household food insecurity were determined with the US Household Food Security Scale.

Results

Young Latino children had much higher rates of child hunger than non-Latinos, 6.8 versus 0.5%. Latino families also had higher rates of household food insecurity than non-Latinos, 53.1 versus 15.6%. Latino children remained much more likely to be hungry (odds ratio (OR) = 13.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 5.9–28.7, P < 0.01) and in household food-insecure households (OR = 6.6, 95% CI = 5.2–8.3, P < 0.01) than non-Latinos after controlling for the following variables in multivariate analysis: child's age, sex, maternal education level, single-headed household status, family size, young maternal age ( < 21 years), food stamp programme participation, TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or ‘welfare’) programme participation and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) usage, and reason for clinic visit (sick visit versus well-child).

Conclusion

Young children in Mexican immigrant families are at especially high risk for hunger and household food insecurity compared with non-immigrant, non-Latino patients in a low-income paediatric clinic.

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*Corresponding author: Email kerse003@umn.edu
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

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20JT Cook , DA Frank , C Berkowitz , MM Black , PH Casey , DB Cutts , . Welfare reform and the health of young children: a sentinel survey in 6 US cities. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 2002; 156: 678–84.

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  • ISSN: 1368-9800
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