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      Food insecurity among households with children during the COVID-19 pandemic: results from a study among social media users across the United States


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          In the United States, approximately 11% of households were food insecure prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The present study aims to describe the prevalence of food insecurity among adults and households with children living in the United States during the pandemic.


          This study utilized social media as a recruitment platform to administer an original online survey on demographics and COVID-related food insecurity. The survey was disseminated through an advertisement campaign on Facebook and affiliated platforms. Food insecurity was assessed with a validated six-item United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Household Food Security Survey Module, which was used to create a six-point numerical food security score, where a higher score indicates lower food security. Individual-level participant demographic information was also collected. Logistic regressions (low/very-low compared with high/marginal food security) were performed to generate adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and 95%CIs for food insecurity and select demographic characteristics.


          Advertisements reached 250,701 individuals and resulted in 5,606 complete surveys. Overall, 14.7% of participants self-identified as having low or very low food security in their households, with higher prevalence (17.5%) among households with children. Unemployment (AOR:1.76, 95%CI:1.09–2.80), high school or lower education (AOR:2.25, 95%CI:1.29–3.90), and low income (AOR[$30,000-$50,000]:5.87, 95%CI:3.35–10.37; AOR[< $30,000]:10.61, 95%CI:5.50–20.80) were associated with higher odds of food insecurity in multivariable models among households with children (and the whole sample).


          These data indicate exacerbation of food insecurity during the pandemic. The study will be instrumental in guiding additional research and time-sensitive interventions targeted towards vulnerable food insecure subgroups.

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          Most cited references21

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          The Socio-Economic Implications of the Coronavirus and COVID-19 Pandemic: A Review

          The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over 1.4 million confirmed cases and over 83,000 deaths globally. It has also sparked fears of an impending economic crisis and recession. Social distancing, self-isolation and travel restrictions forced a decrease in the workforce across all economic sectors and caused many jobs to be lost. Schools have closed down, and the need of commodities and manufactured products has decreased. In contrast, the need for medical supplies has significantly increased. The food sector has also seen a great demand due to panic-buying and stockpiling of food products. In response to this global outbreak, we summarise the socio-economic effects of COVID-19 on individual aspects of the world economy.
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            Effects of COVID‐19 Lockdown on Lifestyle Behaviors in Children with Obesity Living in Verona, Italy: A Longitudinal Study

            Abstract Objective To test the hypothesis that youths with obesity, when removed from structured school activities and confined to their homes during the COVID‐19 pandemic, will display unfavorable trends in lifestyle behaviors. Methods The sample included 41 children and adolescents with obesity participating in a longitudinal observational study located in Verona, Italy. Lifestyle information including diet, activity, and sleep behaviors were collected at baseline and three weeks into the national lockdown during which home confinement was mandatory. Changes in outcomes over the two study time points were evaluated for significance using paired t‐tests. Results There were no changes in reported vegetable intake; fruit intake increased (p=0.055) during the lockdown. By contrast, potato chip, red meat, and sugary drink intakes increased significantly during the lockdown (p‐value range, 0.005 to <0.001). Time spent in sports activities decreased (X±SD) by 2.30±4.60 hours/week (p=0.003) and sleep time increased by 0.65±1.29 hours/day (p=0.003). Screen time increased by 4.85±2.40 hours/day (p<0.001). Conclusions Recognizing these adverse collateral effects of the COVID‐19 pandemic lockdown is critical in avoiding depreciation of weight control efforts among youths afflicted with excess adiposity. Depending on duration, these untoward lockdown effects may have a lasting impact on a child’s or adolescent’s adult adiposity level.
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              Obesity and impaired metabolic health in patients with COVID-19

              Preliminary data suggest that people with obesity are at increased risk of severe COVID-19. However, as data on metabolic parameters (such as BMI and levels of glucose and insulin) in patients with COVID-19 are scarce, increased reporting is needed to improve our understanding of COVID-19 and the care of affected patients.

                Author and article information

                Nutr J
                Nutr J
                Nutrition Journal
                BioMed Central (London )
                30 August 2021
                30 August 2021
                : 20
                [1 ]GRID grid.137628.9, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8753, Public Health Nutrition Program, School of Global Public Health, , New York University, ; 715 Broadway New York, Room 1220, New York, 10003 USA
                [2 ]GRID grid.137628.9, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8753, Department of Population Health At NYU Grossman School of Medicine, , New York University, ; New York, USA
                [3 ]GRID grid.137628.9, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8753, Rory Meyers College of Nursing, , New York University, ; New York, USA
                [4 ]GRID grid.137628.9, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8753, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Global Public Health, , New York University, ; New York, USA
                [5 ]GRID grid.137628.9, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8753, Global Health Program, School of Global Public Health, , New York University, ; New York, USA
                [6 ]GRID grid.137628.9, ISNI 0000 0004 1936 8753, Department of Epidemiology, School of Global Public Health, , New York University, ; New York, USA
                [7 ]GRID grid.1008.9, ISNI 0000 0001 2179 088X, Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery, , University of Melbourne, ; Melbourne, Australia
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Nutrition & Dietetics
                food insecurity,covid-19,households with children,social media
                Nutrition & Dietetics
                food insecurity, covid-19, households with children, social media


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