Panel: Identifying Protective Mechanisms That Shield Children From Food Insecurity
(Social & Family Policy)

Thursday, November 8, 2012: 1:15 PM-2:45 PM
Pratt A (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Colleen Heflin, University of Missouri, Columbia
Moderators:  Alisha Coleman-Jensen, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Laura Tiehen, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Chairs:  Elaine Waxman, Feeding America

In 2010, approximately 10 percent of households with children were classified as experiencing very low or low food security among children (Nord et al., 2011). However, the prevalence and severity of food insecurity varies over childhood. According to Nord (2009: 19), the risk of experiencing both low food security and very low food security peaks when the oldest child in the household is between 13-15 years old. That is, the prevalence of very low food security and low food security is approximately 1 percent and 5 percent (respectively) when the oldest child is 0-4 but then doubles to approximately 2 and 10 percent (respectively) when the oldest child reaches age 13-15. While part of this increased risk may due to the birth of additional of siblings into the household, it may also be explained by the differences in the bundle of food and nutrition services offered to households with different aged children. For example, Nord (2009: 22) reports that households receiving SNAP and free or reduced-price school lunch have higher levels of food insecurity than households receiving SNAP, WIC and free or reduced-price school lunch (31.6 versus 25.1 percent). The heightened risk of food insecurity of older children may also occur because parents protect younger children. To further understand the predictors of food insecurity, this panel explores food insecurity across childhood with an emphasis on identifying the mechanisms that are protective both for household and child food security. The Jacknowitz, Morrissey, and Brannegan paper focuses on identifying factors associated with transitions into and out of food insecurity in the first five years of life by examining the role of changes in employment, income, household composition, parental and child health and residential moves. Understanding food insecurity among young children is important as the consequences are often the most severe during these years. Also focusing on younger children, the Heflin and Arteaga paper focuses on the change in the bundle of food assistance programs that children qualify for as they turn age 5 and enter kindergarten and the impact of this transition in food assistance programs on the risk of household and child food insecurity. In contrast, the Nord paper looks to social processes within the home and the degree to which older children are shielded from experiencing food insecurity by adults in the home. Given the social importance of the topic examined, the diversity of datasets utilized and the strong methodological contributions of each paper, this panel will appeal to a large APPAM audience.

Food Insecurity Across the First Five Years: Triggers of Onset and Exit
Alison Jacknowitz, Taryn Morrissey and Andrew Brannegan, American University

Families with Hungry Children and the Transition From Preschool to Kindergarten
Irma Arteaga, Colleen Heflin and Sara Gable, University of Missouri

Parents Shield Children From Food Insecurity to Some Extent
Mark Nord, US Department of Agriculture

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