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BACKGROUND: Food insecurity (FI) rates in the United States are particularly high among households with children. This research set aims to analyze if high school students experiencing FI had higher risk for mental health and suicidal behaviors.

METHODS: Using combined data from 11 states that conducted the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a total of 26,962 and24,051 high school students were used to estimate race/ethnicity and sex-stratified prevalence ratios (PRs) from Poissonregression models. A single-question was used to measure the exposure of FI and outcomes of mental health and suicidalbehaviors.

RESULTS: Overall, 10.8% of students reported FI. Students experiencing FI had increased risk for all mental health and suicide behavior outcomes, regardless of their race/ethnicity or sex. PRs ranged from 1.9 (95% confidence interval [CI]:1.8, 2.0) to 3.1 (CI:2.7, 3.6). Among males, PRs for the association between FI and all outcomes were highest among non-Hispanic black students(PRs ranged from 2.4 [CI: 1.7, 3.2] to 5.5 [CI: 2.3, 13.3]). Among females, PRs were highest among non-Hispanic white students(PRs ranged from 1.9 [CI:1.7, 2.1] to 3.6 [CI:2.9, 4.5]).

CONCLUSIONS:FI is consistently associated with mental health and suicidal behaviors among different subgroups of students.

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APA Citation

Brown, A. D., Seligman, H., Sliwa, S., Barnidge, E., Krupsky, K. L., Demissie, Z., & Liese, A. D. (2022). Food insecurity and suicidal behaviors among us high school students*. Journal of School Health, 92(9), 898–906.