Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Preventing Chronic Disease



Inclusive Pages





INTRODUCTION: Low levels of food security are associated with dyslipidemia and chronic disease in adults, particularly in women. There is a gap in knowledge about the relationship between food security among youth and dyslipidemia and chronic disease. We investigated the relationship between food security status and dyslipidemia among low-income adolescents.

METHODS: We analyzed data from adolescents aged 12 to 18 years (N = 1,072) from households with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2010. We used logistic regression to examine the relationship between household food security status and the odds of having abnormalities with fasting total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), serum triglycerides (TGs), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), TG/HDL-C ratio, and apolipoprotein B (Apo B). Models included age, sex, race/ethnicity, smoking status, partnered status in the household, and maternal education, with additional adjustment for adiposity.

RESULTS: Household food security status was not associated with elevated TC or LDL-C. Adolescents with marginal food security were more likely than food-secure peers to have elevated TGs (odds ratio [OR] = 1.86; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14-3.05), TG/HDL-C ratio (OR = 1.74; 95% CI, 1.11-2.82), and Apo B (OR = 1.98; 95% CI, 1.17-3.36). Female adolescents with marginal food security had greater odds than male adolescents of having low HDL-C (OR = 2.69; 95% CI, 1.14-6.37). No elevated odds of dyslipidemia were found for adolescents with low or very low food security. Adjustment for adiposity did not attenuate estimates.

CONCLUSION: In this nationally representative sample, low-income adolescents living in households with marginal food security had increased odds of having a pattern consistent with atherogenic dyslipidemia, which represents a cardiometabolic burden above their risk from adiposity alone.


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