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Open Access Validation of a Two-Item Food Security Screening Tool in a Dental Setting

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Purpose: The United States is typically viewed as a wealthy country, yet not all households have access to enough food for an active, healthy life. The purpose of this study was to validate a two-item written food security screen that health providers may use to identify food insecurity in their patient populations.

Methods: Data were obtained from 150 parents or guardians who brought a child to a dental appointment at The Center for Pediatric Dentistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA. The sensitivity and specificity of two written questions were determined by comparing with the United States Department of Agriculture Six-item Short Form of the Food Security Survey Module.

Results: The sample consisted of 141 surveys after those with critical questions left blank were removed. The prevalence of food insecurity was found to be 31 percent at the Center for Pediatric Dentistry. The six-item screen identified 44 foodinsecure families with an affirmative response to two or more questions. Compared with the six-item screen, the two-item screen was found to have 95.4 percent sensitivity and 83.5 percent specificity.

Conclusions: The two-item food security screen was found to be sensitive and reasonably specific, providing a quick and accurate method to identify food-insecure families.
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Keywords: DENTISTRY; FOOD INSECURITY; SIX-ITEM SHORT FORM OF THE FOOD SECURITY SURVEY MODULE; VALIDATION STUDIES

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dentist in private practice, in Seattle, Wash., USA 2: Quality manager at the Ballard Pediatric Clinic, in Seattle, Wash., USA 3: Professor emeritus, Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, at the University of Washington, Seattle 4: Clinical associate professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, in the School of Dentistry, at the University of Washington, Seattle, in the USA 5: Assistant professor, Research and Graduate Programs, School of Dentistry, University of Missouri Kansas City, Kansas City, Mo., in the USA 6: Professor, Department of Oral Health Sciences, in the School of Dentistry, at the University of Washington, Seattle, in the USA;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: September 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Acquired after the merger between the American Society of Dentistry for Children and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry in 2002, the Journal of Dentistry for Children (JDC) is an internationally renowned journal whose publishing dates back to 1934. Published three times a year, JDC promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. It covers a wide range of topics related to the clinical care of children, from clinical techniques of daily importance to the practitioner, to studies on child behavior and growth and development. JDC also provides information on the physical, psychological and emotional conditions of children as they relate to and affect their dental health.
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