Collections > Master's Papers > Gillings School of Public Health > A Rumble in the Tummy: The Overlap between Child Hunger and Obesity Rates

In the US, many studies have found evidence that increased obesity may be related to food insecurity – defined as “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways” (Franklin et al. 2012). This finding is often described as a paradox as food insecurity is due to inadequate resources to obtain food while obesity results from overconsumption (Dinour et al. 2007). While this relationship has been fairly constant among adult women in the U.S., associations among children and adolescents are much less consistent, for reasons which are unclear (Franklin et al. 2012). With the substantial and rising prevalence of both child obesity and food insecurity, a better understanding of the mechanisms and pathways underlying this relationship may influence the effectiveness of policies and programs designed to combat these issues. The aims of this policy brief are to: (1) Describe the links and possible mediators between food insecurity and child obesity; (2) Explore potential approaches to decrease food insecurity and child obesity; and (3) Identify policy implications and areas of future research to minimize the contribution of food insecurity on child obesity.