Child and parental poor health among families at risk for hunger attending a community health center

Elizabeth Miller, Kristin M. Wieneke, J. Michael Murphy, Sheila Desmond, Andrew Schiff, Katia M. Canenguez, Ronald E. Kleinman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background. Hunger is prevalent in low-income families. Community clinics offer an opportunity to identify families who experience hunger and to address hunger-related health problems. Methods. Parents of pediatric patients seen in an urban clinic completed a single question hunger screen. A subsample of parents participated in an interview. Patient and parental medical and mental health diagnoses were collected from medical records. Results. Children from families reporting hunger were more likely than those from families not reporting hunger to be obese and to have more documented medical diagnoses. Parents reporting hunger were also more likely to have mental health problems noted and to describe poor health status. Conclusion. Hunger is associated with specific health problems among children and parents in a low-income community clinic. A simple screen to identify hungry families in clinics may assist in recognition of hunger's contribution to child and parental poor health and development of targeted interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-561
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Childhood obesity
  • Community health center
  • Food insecurity
  • Hunger
  • Mental health
  • Pediatrics
  • Physical health
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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