Project: Food Security, Obesity and Mental Health in Mothers and Preschool Children
Award Year: 2004
Amount of award, fiscal 2004: $150,000.00
Institution: Mathematica Policy Research Inc.
Principal Investigator: Robert Whitaker
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: Household food insecurity may cause mothers and young children to experience worse health due to poor nutrition and stress associated with uncertainty about obtaining an adequate supply of food. This project will use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine the relationships among household food security, the obesity status of mothers and their preschool children, and the mental health of mothers and the prevalence of children's behavioral issues. The data were collected in 20 cities from over 3,000 mothers and their 3-year-old children. Three-fourths of the mothers were unwed at the child's birth, and 80 percent of the families received benefits from WIC or the Food Stamp Program. Two hypotheses will be tested: (1) compared with preschool children in food-secure households, children in food-insecure households have a higher prevalence of behavior problems (aggressive, depressed/anxious, and attention deficit/hyperactivity behaviors), but no increase prevalence of childhood obesity; and (2) compared with mothers in food-secure households, mothers in food-insecure households have higher prevalence of obesity, major depression, and generalized anxiety disorder.
Topic: Food Security, Obesity
Whitaker, R., and A. Sarin. “Change in Food Security Status and Change in Weight Are Not Associated in Urban Women with Preschool Children,” The Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 137, Issue 9, September 2007.
Whitaker, R., and S. Orzol. "Obesity Among US Urban Preschool Children: Relationships to Race, Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Status," The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Vol. 160, No. 6, June 2006.
Whitaker, R., S. Phillips, and S. Orzol. "Food Insecurity and the Risks of Depression and Anxiety in Mothers and Behavior Problems in their Preschool-Aged Children," Pediatrics, Vol. 118, No. 3, September 2006.