Children and adolescents living in food-insecure households have greater use of outpatient and acute care contacts
By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter
MONDAY, July 24, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Children and adolescents living in food-insecure households have greater use of health services for mental and substance use disorders, according to a study published online July 24 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.
Kelly K. Anderson, Ph.D., from the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues examined the association between household food insecurity and contact with health services for mental or substance use disorders among children and adolescents in Ontario, using health administrative data linked to five waves of the Canadian Community Health Survey. Data were included for 32,321 children and adolescents, of whom 16.1 percent were living in food-insecure households.
The researchers found that 9.0 and 0.6 percent of the total sample had an outpatient contact and an acute care contact, respectively, for a mental or substance use disorder. The prevalence rates of outpatient contacts and acute care contacts for a mental or substance use disorder were 55 and 74 percent higher, respectively, for children and adolescents in food-insecure households; however, contacts for substance use disorders were uncommon.
“The coexistence of household food insecurity and service use for mental and substance use disorders here is problematic, given that both of these conditions have each been found to have negative consequences for social, educational, and developmental outcomes among children and adolescents,” Anderson said in a statement.
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