Campus Units

Human Development and Family Studies

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

The Journal of Pediatrics




Objective To examine the association between food insecurity and body mass index (BMI) from early adolescence to adulthood.

Study design Growth curve analyses were performed. Sex differences were examined by conducting the analyses separately by sex. Ten data points were examined over a 16-year period from age 15 to 31 years. Data were obtained from the Family Transitions Project, a longitudinal study of 559 adolescents and their families that was initiated in 1989 in the Midwest. Primarily rural, non-Hispanic whites were selected based on the economic farm crisis. We examined participants from adolescence to adulthood from 1991 through 2007. Measures included a 2-item food insecurity construct and BMI as indicated by self-reported height and weight from adolescence through middle adulthood. These associations were analyzed using prospective growth curve modeling.

Results Our analyses indicated a general increase in BMI with age, whereas food insecurity declined over time. Higher levels of food insecurity at age 15 years led to a more rapid increase in BMI. Finally, a positive relationship was found between the changes in food insecurity and BMI over time. These associations held only for females.

Conclusion Our results argue for increasing access to food during key developmental periods such as early adolescence, which could help reduce the long-term implications for health, particularly BMI in girls.


This accepted manuscript is of an article that is published as Lohman, B.J., Neppl, T.K., Lee, Y., Diggs, O.N., Russell, D. The Association between Household Food Insecurity and Body Mass Index: A Prospective Growth Curve Analysis. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.05.052. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Elsevier Inc.



File Format


Published Version