Exploring the association between food insecurity and food skills among school-aged children
Public Health Nutrition
Cambridge University Press
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Collaborative Research and Innovation Opportunities (CRIO) Team Prgramme from Alberta Innovates Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship Edith Cowan University
© The Authors 2020. Objective:To examine the relationship between household food insecurity (FI) and children's involvement in family meal choices and food preparation, used as proxies for children's food skills, and to explore gender differences within these associations.Design:Households were classified as food-secure or food-insecure using the six-item, short-form Household Food Security Survey Module. Children's involvement in family meal choices and food preparation were treated as proxies for children's food skills. Mixed-effects multinomial logistic regression models were used.Setting:Public schools in Nova Scotia, Canada.Participants:5244 children in the fifth grade (10-11 years old) participating in the Children's Lifestyle and School Performance Study (CLASS).Results:Most children reported being involved in family meal choices or food preparation at least weekly (74 and 68 %). The likelihood of helping choose family meals once a week was 33 % lower among girls from food-insecure households compared to girls from food-secure households. No differences in boys' involvement in family meal choices were observed according to household FI status. Boys from food-insecure households were 65 % more likely than boys from food-secure households to assist with food preparation/cooking four times per week. No differences in girls' involvement in food preparation were observed according to household FI status.Conclusions:Findings support that household FI is not due to a lack of food skills but most likely due to inadequate access to resources. This supports the call for upstream policies targeting the structural issues underpinning household FI such as low income.