The relationship between developmental assets and food security in adolescents from a low-income community.

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Date Published

2015 Feb

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<p><strong>PURPOSE: </strong>To explore the association between developmental assets (characteristics, experiences, and relationships that shape healthy development) and food insecurity among adolescents from a low-income urban community.</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>This mixed-methods study occurred in two phases. In phase 1, using a census approach, 2,350 6th to 12th graders from the public school district completed an anonymous survey that included the developmental assets profile (DAP), the youth self-report form of the Core Food Security Module, and demographic questions. Logistic and multinomial regression analyses determined independent associations between developmental assets and food security adjusting for demographics. In phase 2, 20 adult key informant interviews and four semistructured student focus groups were performed to explain findings from phase 1.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>On average, DAP scores were consistent with national norms. Food insecurity was prevalent; 14.9% reported low food security and 8.6% very low food security (VLFS). Logistic regression revealed that higher DAP was associated with lower odds of food insecurity (odds ratio [OR], .96; 95% confidence interval [CI], .95-.97); family assets drove this association (OR, .93; 95% CI, .91-.95). In multinomial regression modeling, these associations persisted, and paradoxically, higher community assets were also associated with VLFS (ORVLFS, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.04-1.13). Qualitative analyses suggested that greater need among VLFS youth led to increased connections to community resources despite barriers to access such as stigma, home instability, and cultural differences.</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSION: </strong>Food insecurity is a pervasive problem among adolescents from low-income communities and is associated with lower developmental assets, particularly family assets. The fact that community assets were higher among VLFS youth underscores the importance of community-level resources in struggling areas.</p>



Alternate Title

J Adolesc Health




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