Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 97, Issue 3, pp 214–216 | Cite as

Predictors and Outcomes of Household Food Insecurity Among Inner City Families with Preschool Children in Vancouver

  • Margaret A. BroughtonEmail author
  • Patricia S. Janssen
  • Clyde Hertzman
  • Sheila M. Innis
  • C. James Frankish


Objectives: The purposes of this study were to measure household food security and to determine its association with potential predictor variables related to household and community environments, as well as the relationship between household food insecurity and preschool children’s nutritional status.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, household food security was measured in a convenience sample of households (n=142) with children aged 2–5 years in Vancouver in March 2004. We assessed the association between environmental predictors and household food security status, adjusted for household income. Indicators of children’s nutrition were compared between categories of household food security.

Results: Household food insecurity was associated with indicators of suboptimal health status in preschoolers. After controlling for household income, parents with less access to food of reasonable quality, fewer kitchen appliances and a lower rating of their cooking skills had greater odds of experiencing household food insecurity.

Implications: Our study results support the need to test interventions involving collaborative efforts among government, social planners and public health practitioners to remove barriers to food security for families. Multiple measures, including opportunities to gain practical food skills and household resources that enable convenient preparation of nutrient-dense foods, could be examined. Our findings suggest the need for improved selection and quality at existing small stores and an increase in the number of food outlets in low-income neighbourhoods.

MeSH terms

Hunger nutritional status child, preschool 


Objectifs: Le but de cette étude était de mesurer la sécurité alimentaire des ménages et de déterminer comment interviennent les prédicteurs environnementaux potentiels concernant les ménages et la collectivité, en plus d’examiner le rapport entre l’insécurité alimentaire du foyer et l’état nutritionnel des enfants d’âge préscolaire.

Méthodologie: Dans cette étude transversale, la sécurité alimentaire a été mesurée dans un échantillon de commodité de ménages (n=142) comptant des enfants de 2 à 5 ans à Vancouver en mars 2004. Nous avons évalué le rapport entre les prédicteurs environnementaux et la sécurité alimentaire des ménages, avec un ajustement selon le revenu familial. Les indicateurs de nutrition des enfants ont été comparés en fonction de différentes catégories de sécurité alimentaire des ménages.

Conclusions: L’insécurité alimentaire des ménages est associée à des indicateurs d’état de santé sous-optimal chez les enfants d’âge préscolaire. Compte tenu du revenu des ménages, on a constaté que les parents ayant plus difficilement accès à des aliments de qualité raisonnable, moins d’appareils de cuisine et moins de connaissances au point de vue culinaire étaient plus susceptibles de vivre dans l’insécurité alimentaire.

Importance: Notre étude démontre qu’il est nécessaire de mettre à l’essai des interventions assurées en collaboration par les gouvernements et les intervenants en planification sociale et en santé publique afin de faire tomber les barrières faisant obstacle à la sécurité alimentaire des familles. On pourrait examiner différentes mesures, comme permettre aux familles d’acquérir des compétences pratiques en alimentation et leur offrir des ressources leur permettant de préparer des aliments nutritifs. Nos constatations supposent qu’il est nécessaire d’améliorer le choix et la qualité des aliments dans les petits marchés d’alimentation existants et d’augmenter le nombre de marchés d’alimentation dans les quartiers à faible revenu.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret A. Broughton
    • 1
    Email author
  • Patricia S. Janssen
    • 1
  • Clyde Hertzman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sheila M. Innis
    • 3
  • C. James Frankish
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Care and EpidemiologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Human Early Learning PartnershipVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Nutrition Research Program, B.C. Research Institute for Children’s and Women’s Health and Department of PediatricsUniversity of British ColumbiaCanada

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