Food insecurity and childhood outcomes: A cross-sectional analysis of 2016-2020 National Survey of Children's Health data

Covenant Elenwo, Claudia Fisch, Amy Hendrix-Dicken, Sara Coffey, Marianna S. Wetherill, Micah Hartwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Racial inequalities across social determinants of health (SDOHs) are often influenced by discriminatory policies that reinforce systems that further uphold these disparities. There is limited data describing the influence of food insecurity (FI) on childhood racial discrimination. Our objective was to determine if the likelihood of experiencing racial discrimination was exacerbated by FI. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the 2016-2020 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) to extract data on childhood racial discrimination and food security. We extracted sociodemographic variables to utilize as controls and constructed logistic regression models to determine associations, via odds ratios (ORs), between food security and whether the child experienced racial discrimination. We found statistically significant associations between experiencing FI and childhood racial discrimination. Individuals who experienced food shortages were significantly more likely to experience racial discrimination compared to those without food limitations when controlling for race, food voucher usage, age, and % federal poverty guidelines (FPG, adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 3.34; 95 » % CI: 2.69-4.14). Our study found that parents of minority children all reported high rates of racial discrimination, which was exacerbated by concurrent FI. Children of families that were the most food insecure reported the highest percentage of racial discrimination at 11.13 » %, compared with children who always had enough nutritious meals to eat at 2.87 » %. Acknowledging the intersection that exists between FI, race, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES), might be a way forward in addressing the adverse health effects experienced by food-insecure children and adults.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Osteopathic Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • childhood development
  • food insecurity
  • food insufficiency
  • food scarcity
  • pediatric health
  • pediatric outcomes


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