Household Food Security and Associated Factors among Portuguese Children

Maria Raquel G. Silva, Aristides M. Machado-Rodrigues, Daniela Rodrigues, Helena Nogueira, Vítor Rosado-Marques, Augusta Gama, Cristina Padez

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This study investigated the household food insecurity (HFI) among Portuguese children following the last world financial crisis. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 4737 Portuguese children (3–11 yrs). Socio-demographics, food insecurity, and household geographic location were assessed via questionnaire. Nutritional status was measured. Following the economic crisis, 14.2% of school children and 12.0% of preschool children experienced HFI. Preschool children having parents with low and medium parental education (paternal: OR = 4.4; 95% CI 2.7–7.1 and OR = 2.4; 95% CI 1.5–3.6; maternal: OR = 2.2; 95% CI 1.4–3.5 and OR = 1.6; 95% CI 1.1–2.3), living in the south (OR = 1.4; 95% CI 1.0–2.0) and being overweight/obese (OR = 1.1; 95% CI 0.7–1.3) were more likely to experience HFI than food secure household peers. Higher OR of belonging to a food insecure household were observed in school-aged children with low and medium parental education (paternal: OR = 2.9; 95% CI 1.9–4.6 and OR = 1.7; 95% CI 1.1–2.5; maternal: OR = 2.5; 95% CI 1.6–3.9 and OR = 2.3; 95% CI 1.6–3.3), living in Coimbra (OR = 1.7; 95% CI 1.1–2.6) and being overweight/obese (OR = 1.3; 95% CI 0.8–1.5) compared to food secure household peers. Data are instructive and support the need to increase awareness of HFI, reduce its incidence in overweight/obese children from low socio-economic status families and specific geographic areas, and increase food availability based on local ecology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology of Food and Nutrition
Early online date22 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • children
  • Food insecurity
  • geographics
  • parental education
  • weight status


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