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Food Insecurity, Economic Stressors, and Childhood Overweight.

February 2008

Steven Garasky, Susan D. Stewart, Craig Gundersen, Brenda J. Lohman, Joey C. Eisenmann.

Download 'working_paper08-04.pdf'.


The prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased for all children, even among low-income children, many of whom are food insecure and face several stressors. In this article, we investigate whether economic stressors and food insecurity influence childhood overweight using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and its second Child Development Supplement. The results indicate no significant relationship between food insecurity and childhood overweight, but two types of economic stressors have a positive association with children’s risk of overweight, namely financial and community stress. A clear policy implication is that reducing childhood overweight is another potential benefit from helping families avoid stress due to economic difficulties.

Child Well-being and Child Development, Health, Health Insurance, and Health Care, Social Welfare Programs and Policies