Food insecurity in toddler years linked to poor health, says new research

TORONTO: Young kids, who grow up in homes with limited access to nutritious foods are more likely to experience poor overall health and developmental problems, says a new study.

However, these kids are not at higher risk of developing obesity, the research added.

For the findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers analysed data from 28,184 racially and ethnically diverse children between one to four years primarily from low-income households in five US cities that participated in Children’s HealthWatch, an ongoing network of pediatric and public health researchers that monitors how economic hardships relate to the healthy development and growth of children.

“We did find, however, that growing up in a low-income community — typically with a lack of access to healthy grocery stores, an overabundance of fast food chains, and few safe areas to play outdoors – increased a preschooler’s risk of developing obesity regardless of food security,” said study leader Maureen Black, Professor at University of British Columbia.

“This is quite alarming and indicates a significant public health issue,” Black said.