Is maternal food security a predictor of food and drink intake among toddlers in Oregon?

Timothy J. Cunningham, Danielle T. Barradas, Kenneth D. Rosenberg, Ashleigh L. May, Charlan D. Kroelinger, Indu B. Ahluwalia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Food insecurity has detrimental effects on the mental, physical, and behavioral health of developing children. Few studies, however, have sought to determine whether associations exist between food insecurity and intake of vegetables, fresh or canned fruit, candy or cookies, French fries, fast food, water, milk, fruit juices, fruit drinks, soda, and sports drinks. To identify independent associations that exist between maternal food insecurity and food and drink intake among toddlers, population-based data from the 2006-2008 Oregon Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System follow-back survey (Oregon PRAMS-2) of 1,522 mothers of 2-year-old children were analyzed. Maternal food insecurity was defined as mothers' report of eating less because of lack of money for food. Typical weekly child food and drink intake was examined using polytomous logistic regression: 0-1 days/week, 2-3 days/week, and 4-7 days/week. Maternal food insecurity prevalence was 11.7 %. Compared to toddlers of food secure mothers, toddlers of food insecure mothers consumed vegetables (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] for 4-7 days/week = 0.31; 95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.12, 0.79) and fruit (AOR for 4-7 days/week = 0.25; 95 % CI 0.08, 0.75) fewer days of the week. Toddlers of food insecure mothers consumed soda (AOR for 4-7 days/week = 3.21; 95 % CI 1.12, 9.14) more days of the week. Maternal food insecurity is associated with weekly intake of certain foods and drinks. Among toddlers, consumption of fewer vegetables and fruit, and more soda may help explain the link between food insecurity and poor health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-346
Number of pages8
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Volume16 Suppl 2
StatePublished - Dec 2012


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