Academic journal article Journal of Health Population and Nutrition

Factors Associated with Food Insecurity in Households of Public School Students of Salvador City, Bahia, Brazil

Academic journal article Journal of Health Population and Nutrition

Factors Associated with Food Insecurity in Households of Public School Students of Salvador City, Bahia, Brazil

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

In accordance with the law of Brazil (LOSAN-11.346/06), Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) is defined as the realization of the right to quality food in sufficient quantity without compromising access to other essential needs, such as health-promoting food practices that respect cultural diversity and are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable (1). The worldwide food crisis and economic recession during 2006-2008 hindered the goal of reducing the number of hungry people throughout the world. Therefore, it is not surprising to know that a total of 850 million people were facing food restriction with more than 98% living in developing regions as reported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2). Latin America accounts for approximately 38 million of the total number of hungry people worldwide, despite a reduction of 17.2% in this number between 1990 and 2008 (2). In this region, Brazil had the greatest reduction in food insecurity (31.5%) during that period. Nonetheless, data from the National Household Sample Survey (Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra Domiciliar-PNAD) conducted by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica-IBGE) in 2009, using the Brazilian Food Insecurity Scale (Escala Brasileira de Inseguranca Alimentar-EBIA) (3) showed that 30.2% of Brazilian private households were in a state of food insecurity (FI), with 5% of them in a situation of severe FI. In the state of Bahia, out of the total number of households with FI (47.4%), 9.7% showed severe FI (4). Food insecurity is associated not only with non-availability of food but also with social vulnerability, which includes a combination of socioeconomic and demographic variables (5). As a result, this causes a reduction in the level of familial well-being and, thus, negatively impacts the quality of life (6-9), making it impossible for a considerable portion of the population to have the financial resources to meet their basic nutritional needs. A number of studies have examined the impact of FI on health conditions, especially among children and adolescents. These studies indicate that FI is associated with an impairment of dietary patterns (10), nutritional status (11-14), physical and mental development (8,13), an increase in susceptibility to infectious diseases (15), and the risk of chronic diseases in adulthood (6,16). In addition to child labour, begging, and domestic violence, the FI may result in increasing the rates of failure and dropout in schools (17,18). Brazil has been implementing the National School Food Programme (Programa Nacional de Alimentacao Escolar-PNAE) for more than 50 years. The programme aims at complementing pupil's diet to contribute to a better performance at school and correct potential food deficiencies at home. Thus, the PNAE is a programme that is relevant to Food and Nutrition Security. In the National Study on Food Security (4), households with at least one member below the age of 18 years, i.e. the target population of the PNAE, showed to have food insecurity prevalence higher than that in households with adults only (4). This result was observed in all regions of Brazil, with a higher risk of food insecurity among households in the northeastern region. Furthermore, considering the fact that the reduction in food availability at home tends to compromise the quality and quantity of food for this age-group (19), this study focused on household food insecurity for school children. Therefore, it is expected that, by identifying the determinants of FI in the households of school children, new PNAE guidelines can be developed and be aimed at promoting health and healthy food habit.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Study design

This cross-sectional study was performed with families who have students between the ages of 7 and 14 years of either sex. These students were identified from a larger study that aimed at examining the factors associated with iron-deficiency anaemia in children and adolescents enrolled in public schools of Salvador city (20). …

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