Online Program

Trends in child obesity by severe housing cost burden among WIC preschool children in Los Angeles

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Tabashir Z. Nobari, PhD(c), Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
May C. Wang, DrPH, Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Catherine Crespi, PhD, Department of Biostatistics, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Shannon E. Whaley, PhD, Research and Evaluation Unit, PHFE-WIC, Irwindale, CA
Nearly 41 million households in the United States live in unaffordable housing (i.e., spending > 30% of income on housing costs). While unaffordable housing is a risk factor for health, little is known about its impact on child obesity. It may influence child obesity through decreased financial resources for healthy food and for living in safe neighborhoods, and through parental stress. We examine the association of severe housing cost burden and child obesity among low-income families participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) from 2005 to 2011, a time period that includes the 2008 economic recession. Data were from triennial surveys conducted on random samples of approximately 5500 WIC families in Los Angeles County. We used logistic regression to examine the association between obesity status among 2-5 year olds (BMI-for-age-and-sex ≥ 95th percentile) and severe housing cost burden (respondent answered that it was “very difficult” to pay for housing). The percentage of families severely burdened with housing costs decreased from 20.4% in 2005 to 17.9% in 2011. Adjusting for child’s age and gender, and mother’s education, race and BMI, severe housing cost burden significantly increased the odds of child obesity [OR (95%CI) = 1.44 (1.06; 1.96) for 2005, 1.17 (0.84; 1.61) for 2008, 1.34 (1.01; 1.77) for 2011]. Increasing the availability of affordable housing for low-income populations should be considered in the fight against obesity, and in maternal and child health policies aiming to promote children’s health and well-being.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe trends in severe housing cost burden among WIC families in Los Angeles County. Discuss the relationship between severe housing cost burden and child obesity.

Keyword(s): Obesity, WIC

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceptualized the study and was responsible for the research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.