FOOD SECURITY STATUS AND CHILDHOOD OBESITY IN KUANTAN PAHANG
Introduction: Food insecurity has become one of the concerning issues in public health. The purpose of this study was to investigate household food security status and its relationship with childhood obesity in Kuantan, Pahang.
Methods:This comparative cross sectional study was conducted in Kuantan, Pahang among 128 mothers aged 18 to 55 years with the children aged 7 and 13 years. Data on food security status was collected using Radimer/Cornell hunger and food insecurity instrument through telephone call while children's height and weight as well as socio-demographic data were measured and obtained during schools visits.
Results: A total of 23% of the respondents were food secure, while 77% experienced food insecurity. Within food insecure category, 52% were household food insecure, 9% women were individual food insecure and 16% fell into the child hunger category. Income (p=0.04), income per capita (p=0.033), household size (p=0.032) and area of living (p=0.001) were the significant risk factors for household food insecurity. The prevalence of overweight and obesity among children were 60.6% in food insecure households which was higher compared to food-secure households (38.4%).However, there were no significant association between childhood obesity and food security status.
Conclusion:This study demonstrates that the prevalence of food insecurity and childhood obesity in this Kuantan, Pahang is a major concern. The results warrant the need for further investigation to identify complex interaction between food insecurity and childhood obesity.