Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Associations between Household Food Security and Child Anthropometry at Ages 5 and 8 Years in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam

Abstract

### Background

Poor childhood nutritional status has lifetime effects and food insecurity is associated with dietary practices that can impair nutritional status.

### Objectives

We assessed concurrent and subsequent associations between food insecurity and height-for-age z scores (HAZs) and body mass index–for-age z scores (BMI-Zs); evaluated associations with transitory and chronic food insecurity; and tested whether dietary diversity mediates associations between food insecurity and nutritional status.

### Methods

We used data from the Young Lives younger cohort composed of children in Ethiopia (n = 1757), India (n = 1825), Peru (n = 1844), and Vietnam (n = 1828) recruited in 2002 (round 1) at ∼1 y old, with subsequent data collection at 5 y in 2006 (round 2) and 8 y in 2009 (round 3).

### Results

Children from food-insecure households had significantly lower HAZs in all countries at 5 y (Ethiopia, −0.33; India, −0.53; Peru, −0.31; and Vietnam, −0.68 HAZ; all P P P = 0.12; India, P = 0.29; Peru, P = 0.16; and Vietnam, P = 0.51). Chronically food-insecure households had significantly lower HAZs than households that were consistently food-secure, although BMI-Zs did not differ by chronic food-insecurity status. Dietary diversity mediated 18.8–30.5% of the association between food security and anthropometry in Vietnam, but mediated to a lesser degree (8.4–19.3%) in other countries.

### Conclusions

In four countries, food insecurity at 5 y of age was associated with both HAZ and BMI-Z at age 8 y, although the association was attenuated after adjusting for other household factors and anthropometry at age 5 y, and remained significant only for the HAZ in Vietnam.

Citation

Humphries, D.L.; Dearden, K.A.; Crookston, B.T.; Fernald, L.C.; Stein, A.D.; Woldehanna, T.; Penny, M.E.; Behrman, J.R. Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Associations between Household Food Security and Child Anthropometry at Ages 5 and 8 Years in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam. Journal of Nutrition (2015) 145 (8) 1924-1933. [DOI: 10.3945/jn.115.210229]

Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Associations between Household Food Security and Child Anthropometry at Ages 5 and 8 Years in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam

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