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Difficulty buying food, BMI, and eating habits in young children

Anne Fuller, Jonathon L. Maguire, Sarah Carsley, Yang Chen, Gerald Lebovic, Jessica Omand, Patricia Parkin, Catherine S. Birken

Abstract


OBJECTIVES: To determine whether parent report of difficulty buying food was associated with child body mass index (BMI) z-score or with eating habits in young children.

METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study in primary care offices in Toronto, Ontario. Subjects were children aged 1–5 years and their caregivers, recruited through the TARGet Kids! Research Network from July 2008 to August 2011. Regression models were developed to test the association between parent report of difficulty buying food because of cost and the following outcomes: child BMI z-score, parent’s report of child’s intake of fruit and vegetables, fruit juice and sweetened beverages, and fast food. Confounders included child’s age, sex, birth weight, maternal BMI, education, ethnicity, immigration status, and neighbourhood income.

RESULTS: The study sample consisted of 3333 children. Data on difficulty buying food were available for 3099 children, and 431 of these (13.9%) were from households reporting difficulty buying food. There was no association with child BMI z-score (p = 0.86). Children from households reporting difficulty buying food (compared with never having difficulty buying food) had increased odds of consuming three or fewer servings of fruits and vegetables per day (odds ratio [OR]: 1.31, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.03–1.69), more than one serving of fruit juice/sweetened beverage per day (OR: 1.60, 95% CI: 1.28–2.00), and, among children 1–2 years old, one or more servings of fast food per week (OR: 2.91, 95% CI: 1.67–5.08).

CONCLUSION: Parental report of difficulty buying food is associated with less optimal eating habits in children but not with BMI z-score.


Keywords


Child; obesity; diet; poverty; food supply

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.108.6049