Financial management skills are associated with food insecurity in a sample of households with children in the United States

Craig G. Gundersen, Steven B. Garasky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Food insecurity is one of the leading public health challenges facing children in the United States today. Reducing food insecurity and its attendant consequences requires an understanding of the determinants of food insecurity. Although previous work has greatly advanced our understanding of these determinants, the role of one of the oft-speculated important determinants of food insecurity, household financial management skills, has not been considered. To address this research lacuna, we use a recently conducted survey, the Survey of Household Finances and Childhood Obesity, that has information on specific financial management practices, impressions of financial management skills, and households' food insecurity. The sample included 904 households with children. Within this sample, 19.3% were food insecure and, for our central financial management skill variable, the mean value was 3.55 on a 5-point scale. Probit regression models estimated the probability of a household being food insecure as conditional on financial management skills and other covariates. We found a large and significant inverse relationship between a respondent's use of specific financial management practices and food insecurity and between a respondent's confidence in his or her financial management skills and food insecurity. That is, households with greater financial management abilities are less likely to be food insecure. This finding also holds when the sample is restricted to households with incomes <200% of the poverty line. These results suggest that improving households- financial management skills has the potential to reduce food insecurity in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1865-1870
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume142
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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