Extremely little is known about the effects of health on food insecurity despite strong associations between the two and a theoretical basis for this avenue of inquiry. This study uses data from two national birth cohort studies in the U.S., the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (. N=~9400) from 2001 to 2003 and the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (. N=2458) from 1998 to 2003, to estimate the effects of poor infant health on child and household food insecurity and explore the potential buffering effects of public programs that provide food, healthcare, and cash assistance. We address the issue of causality by defining poor infant health as an unexpected shock and conducting relevant specification tests. We find convincing evidence that poor infant health does not affect food insecurity but that it greatly increases reliance on cash assistance for low-income individuals with disabilities, which appears to be playing a buffering role.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- History and Philosophy of Science
- Child health
- Family well-being
- Food insecurity
- United States