Hispanic/Latino youth bear a disproportionate burden of food insecurity and poor metabolic outcomes, but research linking the two in this diverse population is lacking. We evaluated whether lower household and child food security (FS) were adversely associated with a metabolic syndrome (MetS) composite variable and clinically measured cardiometabolic markers: waist circumference, fasting plasma glucose, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
This cross-sectional study included 1325 Hispanic/Latino youth aged 8 to 16 years from the Hispanic Community Children’s Health Study/Study of Latino Youth, a study of offspring of adults enrolled in the Hispanic Community Health Survey/Study of Latinos. Multivariable regression analyses were used to assess relationships between household FS (high, marginal, low, very low) and child FS (high, marginal, low/very low) status, separately, and our dependent variables, adjusting for participant age, sex, site, parental education, and poverty-income ratio.
For both FS measures, youth in the lowest FS category had significantly lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol than those with high FS (household FS: −3.17, 95% confidence interval [CI]: −5.65 to −0.70, child FS: −1.81, 95% CI: −3.54 to −0.09). Low/very low versus high child FS was associated with greater fasting plasma glucose (β = 1.37, 95% CI: 0.08 to 2.65), triglycerides (β = 8.68, 95% CI: 1.75 to 15.61), and MetS expected log counts (β = 2.12, 95% CI: 0.02 to 0.45).
Lower FS is associated with unfavorable MetS-relevant cardiometabolic markers in Hispanic/Latino youth. These findings also support the use of a child-level versus a household-level measure to capture the health implications of food insecurity in this population.