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A Systematic Review of the Evaluation of Interventions to Tackle Children’s Food Insecurity

Holley, Clare E., Mason, Carolynne
Current nutrition reports 2019 v.8 no.1 pp. 11-27
children, cohort studies, food security, obesity, poverty, systematic review
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To synthesise the research which has sought to evaluate interventions aiming to tackle children’s food insecurity and the contribution of this research to evidencing the effectiveness of such interventions. RECENT FINDINGS: The majority of studies in this review were quantitative, non-randomised studies, including cohort studies. Issues with non-complete outcome data, measurement of duration of participation in interventions, and accounting for confounds are common in these evaluation studies. Despite the limitations of the current evidence base, the papers that were reviewed provide evidence for multiple positive outcomes for children participating in attended and subsidy interventions, inter alia, reductions in food insecurity, poor health and obesity. However, current evaluations may overlook key areas of impact of these interventions on the lives and outcomes of participating children. This review suggests that the current evidence base which evaluates food insecurity interventions for children is both mixed and limited in scope and quality. In particular, the outcomes measured are narrow, and many papers have methodological limitations. With this in mind, a systems-based approach to both implementation and evaluation of food poverty interventions is recommended.