Nav: Home

Housing instability negatively affects the health of children and caregivers

January 22, 2018

BOSTON - When families don't have stable housing, their risk of struggling with poor health outcomes and material hardships, such as food insecurity, increases, according to a new study from Children's HealthWatch. Researchers surveyed over 22,000 families and found that one third of low-income renters were housing unstable, which was associated with negative impacts on their health.

To determine housing instability, researchers asked families if they had been behind on rent or moved more than twice in the past year, and if their child had experienced homelessness. All three circumstances were associated with increased odds of adverse health outcomes, such as poor caregiver health, poor child health, maternal depressive symptoms, and food and energy insecurity, when compared to families with stable housing.

"Two-thirds of the families who said they were housing insecure were behind on rent in the past year," said Megan Sandel, MD, MPH, principal investigator at Children's HealthWatch and associate director of the GROW Clinic at Boston Medical Center (BMC). "This should be something doctors pay attention to when screening patients for housing instability, as it hasn't been recognized as a factor in the past."

The study also explored how multiple unstable housing circumstances affected family health. They found as the number of adverse housing circumstances increased, the odds of child and caregiver health risks also increased. However, there was limited overlap between the three circumstances, with 86 percent of families only experiencing one circumstance.

"Asking questions specific to all three circumstances can help providers asses both individual and community health and housing needs, and identify families who are at risk of poor health associated with housing instability," added Sandel. "Since there is little overlap in the circumstances, it is vital to assess each circumstance to keep families from slipping through the cracks."

Families were surveyed in five urban medical centers in Baltimore, MD, Minneapolis, MN, Boston, MA, Little Rock, AR, and Philadelphia, PA. All of the families were renters and had public health insurance or were uninsured. The study is published online in Pediatrics.
-end-
About Children's Health Watch

Children's HealthWatch is a nonpartisan network of pediatricians, public health researchers, and children's health policy experts committed to improving children's health in America by collecting data on children from families facing economic hardship at urban hospitals across the country. Their goal is to inform public policies and practices that give all children equal opportunities for healthy, successful lives.

About Boston Medical Center

Boston Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit, 487-bed, academic medical center that is the primary teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. It is the largest and busiest provider of trauma and emergency services in New England. Committed to providing high-quality health care to all, the hospital offers a full spectrum of pediatric and adult care services including primary and family medicine and advanced specialty care with an emphasis on community-based care. Boston Medical Center offers specialized care for complex health problems and is a leading research institution, receiving more than $117 million in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2016. It is the 13th largest recipient of funding in the U.S. from the National Institutes of Health among independent hospitals. In 1997, BMC founded Boston Medical Center Health Plan, Inc., now one of the top ranked Medicaid MCOs in the country, as a non-profit managed care organization. It does business in Massachusetts as BMC HealthNet Plan and as Well Sense Health Plan in New Hampshire, serving 290,000 people, collectively. Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine are partners in the Boston HealthNet - 14 community health centers focused on providing exceptional health care to residents of Boston. For more information, please visit http://www.bmc.org.

Boston Medical Center

Related Food Insecurity Articles:

To ensure constant food supply edible dormice rather give up their favorite food
Edible dormice feed preferably on high-energy seeds for reproduction and putting on fat reserves.
Food insecurity can affect your mental health
Food insecurity (FI) affects nearly 795 million people worldwide. Although a complex phenomenon encompassing food availability, affordability, utilization, and even the social norms that define acceptable ways to acquire food, FI can affect people's health beyond its impact on nutrition.
Food insecurity in early childhood linked to young children's skills in kindergarten
In the United States, estimates show that a substantial number of children under age 5 live in households that are food insecure.
Money, not access, key to resident food choices in 'food deserts'
A new study finds that, while access to healthy foods is a significant challenge, the biggest variable limiting diet choices in so-called 'food deserts' is limited financial resources.
Food on Mars, food on Earth: NASA taps USU scientists for space quest
To survive on Mars, explorers will have to be self-sufficient.
Northwestern anthropologist receives grant to measure water insecurity
Under a new $310,000 grant from the UK-funded Innovative Metrics and Methods for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions research initiative, Northwestern University anthropologist Sera Young, a fellow in the University's Institute for Policy Research, and an international team of researchers seek to develop a cross-cultural scale of perceived household water insecurity.
Food insecurity: A threat to the developmental and psychosocial health of children
Household food insecurity (FI) (without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food, even for a temporary period), is associated with children's behavioral, academic and emotional problems beginning as early as infancy.
Fast food packaging contains potentially harmful chemicals that can leach into food
A comprehensive analysis of fast food packaging in the US shows that many restaurants use food packaging containing highly fluorinated chemicals, or PFASs.
New categorization of food scares will prevent food chain being compromised
Researchers from the University of Surrey have developed a new comprehensive categorization of food scares, a new study in the British Food Journal reports.
Nutrition program improves food stamp family's food security
Food stamp participants who participated in a supplemental nutrition education program were able to improve their food security by 25 percent, according to a study by Purdue University.

Related Food Insecurity Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#514 Arctic Energy (Rebroadcast)
This week we're looking at how alternative energy works in the arctic. We speak to Louie Azzolini and Linda Todd from the Arctic Energy Alliance, a non-profit helping communities reduce their energy usage and transition to more affordable and sustainable forms of energy. And the lessons they're learning along the way can help those of us further south.