Master of Public Health
First Committee Member
Dr. Marcus Waldman, MS-EdD
Second Committee Member
Dr. Aaron Yoder, Ph.D.
Third Committee Member
Dr. Chad Abresch, PhD
Fourth Committee Member
Dr. Amy L. Yaroch, PhD
Food insecurity is a well-known risk factor for delayed child development. Still, the contribution of other factors, such as income, home learning environment (HLE), and family socio-demographic factors, remains to be determined. Therefore, the study aimed to determine the association between food insecurity and child development and assess the role of income, HLE, and family socio-demographic factors in that association. We used secondary data from the Nebraska Early Childhood Study, a cross-sectional study of caregivers of children under five years old in Omaha and Lincoln. Child development, food insecurity, and HLE were measured using a caregiver report of child development. We used multiple regression to analyze the data.
The results showed that food insecurity was negatively related to developmental outcomes (Est = -0.217, SE = 0.091, ES = -0.109, p =.018) even after adjusting for Income (Est = -0.222, SE = 0.092, ES =-0.112, p =.048). HLE was positively associated with children’s developmental outcomes after controlling for income, child’s age, sex, race, and ethnicity (Est = 0.376, SE = 0.092, ES = 0.198, p < .001). HLE did not moderate the association between food insecurity and children’s developmental outcomes (Est = -0.287, SE = 0.185, ES = -0.095, p = .121). These results indicate that even if a child has access to a stimulating HLE, they may still experience developmental setbacks if they do not have enough nutritious food.
Overall, the study found that addressing food insecurity and promoting a stimulating HLE is essential in improving child developmental outcomes, especially in high-risk populations. Further research is needed to fully understand the complex factors influencing child development in food-insecure families. This study adds to the existing literature on the relationship between food insecurity, HLE, and child development and provides valuable insights for policymakers, educators, and healthcare professionals.
Mabiala-Maye, Marlette Grace Dulcinee, "Food Insecurity and Child Development in Nebraska: The Role of Income, Home Learning Environment, and Family Socio-Demographic Factors" (2023). Capstone Experience. 249.
Available for download on Friday, October 11, 2024