Journal of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics 2015. 1(3):141-148.

Food insecurity, socio-economic status, and educational achievement: a cross-sectional study in high school girls, Noshahr, Iran
Elnaz Daneshzad, Parvaneh Yavari, Abbas Rahimi-Foroshani, AhmadReza Dorosty-Motlagha, Azadeh Nadjarzadeh, Leila Yavari


Background: Food insecurity has an impact on social-emotional development, school attendance, and  academic  performance. It  is  critical  to  understand  the impact of food insecurity on academic standing and its relationship with socio- economic status on adolescent health outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between food insecurity and socio-economic status, and academic standing among high-school girls in Noshahr, Iran.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 525 students. All girls were from private and public high schools in Noshahr from March 2014 to June 2014. Food security was assessed using the United States Department of Agriculture 18-item standard questionnaire. A structured questionnaire was used with a wide range of questions for socioeconomic status (SES) and academic performance.

Results: Food insecurity prevalence was 41%, and 25% of marginal food security.Significant difference was found in  grade point average (GPA) between food secure and insecure students p < 0.001. The results of logistic regressions showed food   secure   students   are   less   likely   choose   technical   fields   [odds   ratio (OR) = 4.902; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.313-18.304] and more likely have higher GPA, (OR = 0.555; 95% CI: 0.391-0.786), father with secure and higher paid jobs (OR = 5.841; 95% CI: 2.640-12.923), and healthy family members (OR = 1.852; 95% CI: 1.190-2.883).

Conclusion: Food insecurity was a common health problem among students, and SES of parents had main effects on student achievement. The negative impact of food insecurity on student academic performance needs urgent attention. Nutrition education is necessary to improve the quality of lifestyle and empower students to build a successful learning strategy.


Food security; Socio-economic status; Academic performance; Adolescent; Food insecurity

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