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Food Insecurity and Pediatric Obesity: a Double Whammy in the Era of COVID-19.


Purpose of review

This review examines the current evidence about the ways in which food insecurity relates to obesity in children and adolescents, examining diet and diet-related behaviors, and taking into consideration the role of stress.

Recent findings

While living with food insecurity impacts stress and diet-related behaviors in children and adolescents, it is not clear whether food insecurity is associated with obesity above and beyond the influence of poverty. However, strategies to mitigate food insecurity and obesity are inherently connected, and recent examples from clinical practice (e.g., screening for food insecurity among patients) and advocacy (e.g., policy considerations regarding federal food programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) are discussed. Food insecurity and obesity coexist in low-income children and adolescents in the USA. The COVID-19 pandemic exerts disproportionate burden on low-income children and families, magnifying their vulnerability to both food insecurity and pediatric obesity.

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