Our objective was to identify the benefits and barriers associated with participation in food programs. We did a content analysis of focus groups with parents (n=21), teachers (n=10), project staff (n=21), and children (n=17) in three low-income Ontario communities. The key benefits identified by the three adult groups were hunger alleviation and social contact opportunities for both parents and children. Parents also benefited from volunteering with and/or participating in food programs because neighbourhood support networks developed. Teachers reported that children who attended breakfast programs became more attentive in school. The food programs also provided an opportunity for nutrition education. Offering food as part of all community programs (not just those designed to increase food availability) encouraged participation and increased attendance. Children thought that attending food programs kept them healthy, and helped them work harder in school. Parents' pride was the main barrier to participation in programs; however, parents who were actively involved in program delivery did not feel stigmatized accepting food. To encourage participation, nutrition professionals should collaborate with local residents to develop and implement community-based food programs.
Food insecurity (which can be defined as inadequate access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets individuals' dietary needs) is concurrently associated with children's psychological difficulties. However, the predictive role of food insecurity with regard to specific types of children's mental health symptoms has not previously been studied. We used data from the Longitudinal Study of Child Development in Québec, LSCDQ, a representative birth cohort study of children born in the Québec region, in Canada, in 1997-1998 (n?=?2120). Family food insecurity was ascertained when children were 1½ and 4½ years old. Children's mental health symptoms were assessed longitudinally using validated measures of behaviour at ages 4½, 5, 6 and 8 years. Symptom trajectory groups were estimated to identify children with persistently high levels of depression/anxiety (21.0%), aggression (26.2%), and hyperactivity/inattention (6.0%). The prevalence of food insecurity in the study was 5.9%. In sex-adjusted analyses, children from food-insecure families were disproportionately likely to experience persistent symptoms of depression/anxiety (OR: 1.79, 95% CI 1.15-2.79) and hyperactivity/inattention (OR: 3.06, 95% CI 1.68-5.55). After controlling for immigrant status, family structure, maternal age at child's birth, family income, maternal and paternal education, prenatal tobacco exposure, maternal and paternal depression and negative parenting, only persistent hyperactivity/inattention remained associated with food insecurity (fully adjusted OR: 2.65, 95% CI 1.16-6.06). Family food insecurity predicts high levels of children's mental health symptoms, particularly hyperactivity/inattention. Addressing food insecurity and associated problems in families could help reduce the burden of mental health problems in children and reduce social inequalities in development.
We explored infant nutrition in Saskatoon by assessing current accessibility to all forms of infant nourishment, investigating challenges in terms of access to infant nutrition, and determining the use and effectiveness of infant nutrition programs and services. We also examined recommendations to improve infant food security in Saskatoon.
Semi-structured community focus groups and stakeholder interviews were conducted between June 2006 and August 2006. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes related to infant feeding practices and barriers, as well as recommendations to improve infant food security in Saskatoon.
Our study showed that infant food security is a concern among lower-income families in Saskatoon. Barriers that limited breastfeeding sustainability or nourishing infants through other means included knowledge of feeding practices, lack of breastfeeding support, access and affordability of infant formula, transportation, and poverty.
Infant nutrition and food security should be improved by expanding education and programming opportunities, increasing breastfeeding support, and identifying acceptable ways to provide emergency formula. If infant food security is to be addressed successfully, discussion and change must occur in social policy and family food security contexts.
Department of Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Faculty of Social Sciences, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, 2300RB Leiden, The Netherlands. SHuijbregts@fsw.leidenuniv.nl
This study investigated joint effects of maternal prenatal smoking and parental history of antisocial behavior on physical aggression between ages 17 and 42 months in a population sample of children born in Québec (N = 1,745). An analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed significant main effects of maternal prenatal smoking and a significant interaction between maternal prenatal smoking and mother's history of antisocial behavior in the prediction of children's probability to display high and rising physical aggression. The interaction indicated that the effects of heavy smoking during pregnancy (> or =10 cigarettes/day) were greater when the mother also had a serious history of antisocial behavior. The effects remained significant after the introduction of control variables (e.g., hostile-reactive parenting, family functioning, parental separation/divorce, family income, and maternal education). Another significant interaction not accounted for by control variables was observed for maternal prenatal smoking and family income, indicating more serious effects of maternal prenatal smoking under relatively low-income, conditions. Both interactions indicate critical adversities that, in combination with maternal prenatal smoking, have supra-additive effects on (the development of) physical aggression during early childhood. These findings may have implications for the selection of intervention targets and strategies.
Sheway is a single-access comprehensive street-front service to pregnant and parenting women with a history of alcohol and/or drug abuse that is located in one of Canada's poorest neighbourhoods, the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. This investigation assesses the concurrent health and social problems clients report upon entry into the program, service utilization, and the impact of services on neonate and infant well-being. Data were collected through the review of files from the 9 1/2 years of the agency's service. Findings suggest that the clients' concurrent health and social problems have increased over the years of operation while indicators of infant health have either improved or maintained steady rates.
The authors examined the effects of welfare programs that increased maternal employment and family income on the development of very young children using data from 5 random-assignment experiments. The children were 6 months to 3 years old when their mothers entered the programs; cognitive and behavioral outcomes were measured 2-5 years later. While there were no overall program impacts, positive or negative, on the development of children in this age group, there was a pair of domain- and age-specific effects: The programs decreased positive social behavior among 1-year-olds and increased school achievement among 2-year-olds. After exploring several explanations for these results, the authors suggest that the contextual changes engendered by the programs, including children's exposure to center-based child care, interacted differentially with specific developmental transitions.
Cites: Child Dev. 1996 Jun;67(3):928-418706536
Cites: Monogr Soc Res Child Dev. 1994;59(5):1-173; discussion 174-857845413