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Food insecurity: could school food supplementation help break cycles of intergenerational transmission of social inequalities?: School food programs and scholastic achievement

Abstract : OBJECTIVE: The aim of our study was to investigate the moderating effect of school food programs in schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods on the association between household food insecurity and scholastic difficulties among adolescents. METHODS: We analyzed data from the Social and Health Survey of Children and Adolescents in Quebec, Canada, which was conducted in 1999 and included 2346 adolescent students 13 and 16 years of age (and 1983 of their parents). Sample-weighted regression analyses were performed to determine the association between household food insecurity and school difficulties and to explore the moderating role of food supplementation programs with respect to this association. RESULTS: Household food insecurity, which was linked to the indicators of family socioeconomic status, was strongly associated with the indicators of scholastic difficulties. This association disappeared for adolescents who benefited from food supplementation programs in schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods. The risk of school activity limitation decreased from OR = 2.76 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.41-5.41) to OR = 1.57 (95% CI: 1.35-3.40), the risk of below-average grades in the language of instruction decreased from OR = 2.19 (95% CI: 1.28-3.74) to OR = 0.59 (95% CI: 0.21-1.63), the risk of repeating a year decreased from OR = 2.14 (95% CI: 1.35-3.40) to OR = 0.87 (95% CI: 0.42-1.81), and the risk of self-rated poor academic performance decreased from OR = 1.74 (95% CI: 1.08-2.81) to OR = 0.81(95% CI: 0.37-1.78). CONCLUSION: School food supplementation is a moderating factor in the association between household food insecurity and scholastic difficulties for adolescents.
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Submitted on : Monday, December 6, 2010 - 5:13:20 PM
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Christelle Roustit, Anne-Marie Hamelin, Francesca Grillo, Judith Martin, Pierre Chauvin. Food insecurity: could school food supplementation help break cycles of intergenerational transmission of social inequalities?: School food programs and scholastic achievement. Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 2010, 126 (6), pp.1174-81. ⟨10.1542/peds.2009-3574⟩. ⟨inserm-00543829⟩

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