Child-specific food insecurity and its sociodemographic and nutritional determinants among Iranian schoolchildren.

Ecology of food and nutrition

PubMedID: 26813700

Alipour B, Abbasalizad Farhangi M, Asghari S, Amirkhizi F, Dahri M, Abedimanesh N, Farsad-Naimi A, Hojegani S. Child-specific food insecurity and its sociodemographic and nutritional determinants among Iranian schoolchildren. Ecol Food Nutr. 2016;1-10.
Despite strong evidence of the prevalence of food insecurity in adults and households with children in different areas of Iran, the prevalence of child-specific food insecurity in Iran and especially in Tabriz has not been evaluated. Therefore, the objective of the current study is to evaluate the prevalence of food insecurity in schoolchildren and to identify its social, demographic, and nutritional determinants in Tabriz, Iran. This cross-sectional study was conducted between April and September 2014 among 330 schoolchildren aged 7-11 years comprising 170 boys and 160 girls from ten public schools in Tabriz, Iran. Demographic and socioeconomic factors had been obtained from participants. Food security status was assessed by an eight-item U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Security Module previously validated for use in Iran. Dietary information was obtained by a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). In our findings, the prevalence of food insecurity among children was 30% with 29. 1% being low food secure and 0. 9% being very low food secure. Mean weight for age Z-score (WAZ) in the food insecure group was significantly lower than in the food secure group. The prevalence of food insecurity was more prevalent in boys (p =. 006). Food insecure children had a significantly lower intake of energy, carbohydrate, protein, and meat (p <. 001) and higher prevalence of wasting compared with their counterparts in the food secure group (p =. 004). These results suggest a proportionally high prevalence of food insecurity in schoolchildren in Tabriz and its significant association with poor nutritional status and dietary habits. Our findings also ensures the necessity of nutritional support programs and nutritional education in Iranian low-income families to improve their overall health.