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Poverty Drains Nutrition From Family Diet
Date:2/21/2008

Study found adults ate worse than children did in 'food-insecure' households

THURSDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Members of poor households in which it is consistently hard to afford enough high-quality food end up eating nutritionally risky diets, Canadian researchers reveal.

The new study is the first to show that food insecurity directly translates into poor nutrition. It also suggests that in such homes, adults and teens, rather than very young children, are the most likely to be subsisting on diets low in vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables, grains and meat.

"Over the long term, [food insecurity] could be expected to precipitate and complicate diet-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease," cautioned study co-author, Sharon Kirkpatrick, a doctoral candidate in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto.

Kirkpatrick and study co-author Valerie Tarasuk published the findings in the March issue of The Journal of Nutrition.

According to a 2002 U.S. Department of Agriculture report, just over 11 percent of American households are food-insecure.

The study highlights similar estimates for 2006, suggesting that 12.6 million U.S. households experience food insecurity, while 4.6 million have one or more family members going without food. Recent Canadian research indicates that just over 9 percent of households are food-insecure.

Against such numbers, Kirkpatrick and Tarasuk set out to analyze eating habits, detailed in interviews conducted by Statistics Canada between 2004 and 2005. The survey included 35,000 Canadians between the ages of 1 and 70 drawn from all socioeconomic groups.

Among younger children, Kirkpatrick and Tarasuk found that living in food-insecure homes translated into lower milk consumption and -- among those between 1 and 3 -- lower consumption of fruits and vegetables. However, overall, this group appear
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