Child food insecurity in the UK: a rapid review

Aceves-Martins M, Cruickshank M, Fraser C, Brazzelli M
Record ID 32018000296
Authors' objectives: To determine the nature, extent and consequences of FI affecting children (aged ≤ 18 years) in the UK.
Authors' results and conclusions: Results: In total, 109 studies were selected. Only five studies were conducted in the UK, four of which provided qualitative data. Possible factors associated with child FI were identified, for example socioeconomic status, material deprivation, living in public housing and having unemployed or poorly educated parents. Children’s health, well-being and academic outcomes were all negatively affected by FI. The mediating effects of family stressors and parenting practices in the relationship between FI and children’s health and well-being outcomes were not clear. Food assistance programmes were generally effective in mitigating FI and improving nutritional outcomes (including hunger) in the short term, but did not eradicate FI, eliminate its effects on children’s health or have an impact on academic outcomes. No reports assessing the prevalence of child FI in the UK or the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of interventions to tackle FI were identified. Conclusions: A number of factors that were related to child FI were identified, as were negative associations between child FI and physical, mental and social outcomes. However, these findings should be interpreted with caution because of the correlational nature of the analyses and the fact that it is difficult to determine if some factors are predictors or consequences of FI.
Authors' methods: A rapid review of the current published and unpublished literature was conducted, including all study designs from specified high-income countries in children aged ≤ 18 years. Searches were conducted of major health-care, nutrition, education and social science databases from 1995 onwards, and websites of relevant UK and international organisations. Final searches were undertaken in December 2017.
Authors' identified further reserach: There is an urgent requirement for the development of a reliable instrument to measure and monitor child FI in the UK and for well-designed interventions or programmes to tackle child FI.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2018
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Full HTA
Country: England, United Kingdom
MeSH Terms
  • United Kingdom
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Infant
  • Adolescent
  • Food Supply
  • Food
  • Food Assistance
Organisation Name: NIHR Public Health Research programme
Contact Address: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health and Care Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
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Copyright: Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.