Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Epidemiology & Community Health

First Advisor

Derek Chapman


The obesity epidemic is a major public health concern, where the prevalence rates amongst the American children population have more than doubled since the 1980s. Among overweight children, the risk of becoming an overweight or obese adult is 70% higher than children of normal weight, and obese children are more likely to remain obese into adulthood and face a number of morbidities associated with it, including lower quality of life and increased financial burden. In this research, we examined the relationship between household food security and obesity among children and adolescents between the ages of 2-18 years old. We used data from the NHANES 2005-2006 (n= 3,432). Amongst the children aged 2-18 years, 31.21% were determined to be obese or at-risk for obesity. Children aged 2-18 years were 1.27 times more likely to be obese or at-risk when living in a food insecure household after adjusting for race/ethnicity. Adolescents aged 12-18 years were 1.47 times more likely to be obese or at-risk when living in a food insecure household. No significant association was found for young children aged 2-11 years. After adjusting for race/ethnicity and poverty level status, however, the association between food insecurity and obesity was not significant for either age group. Further investigation of other potential confounders could explain the association for both young children and adolescents. There are other factors, like social and societal, that influence the trends of obesity. Future programming could work to ameliorate the conditions of food insecurity and other infrastructure factors.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010

Included in

Epidemiology Commons