Princeton University Library Catalog

The Effect of Food Insecurity on Body Weight in Preschool-Aged Children

Author/​Artist:
Rosenthal, Brett [Browse]
Format:
Senior thesis
Language:
English
Advisor(s):
Reichman, Nancy E. [Browse]
Department:
Princeton University. Department of Economics [Browse]
Class year:
2016
Description:
93 pages
Summary note:
To date, few studies have examined the relationship between food insecurity and body weight in preschool-aged children. Moreover, the currently available studies are inconclusive and different studies often employ unique measurement techniques and inconsistent designs, making the studies difficult to compare. In response, this paper explores the relationship between food insecurity and body weight in preschool-aged children using various measures of both food insecurity and body weight status. I use BMI-for-age percentile data as well as dichotomous variables representing whether a child is obese and overweight/obese. I also use responses to the Household Food Security Survey Module to evaluate both household and child food insecurity for each participant. This study uses a collection of 1,761 children and mothers from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. I use linear, probit, and fixed effects regressions to estimate the effect of food insecurity on the body weight of preschool-aged children. My results indicate that a likely relationship exists between household food insecurity and increased BMI levels in preschool-aged children. I do not find a significant relationship between child food insecurity and body weight in preschool-aged children. When regressions are stratified by gender, a significant relationship between household food insecurity and overweight/obesity is found in girls, but not in boys. Further research is needed to explore the potential relationship between food insecurity and body weight in order to better inform policies and programs that attempt to address the coexistence of these issues among low-income households with children.