The findings that suggest a strong relationship between exposure to adverse childhood experiences and household food insecurity among mothers of young children, adds a new dimension to the study of poverty.

"The causes and realities of hunger and poverty are complicated and difficult to unravel. We are seeing one component of them is that, for many people, experiences of hunger have trauma and adversity at their core," said lead author of the study Mariana Chilton, associate professor at Drexel University in the US.

The study involved 31 mothers who experienced deprivation, abuse, violence and neglect during their childhood.The results point clearly to a value in considering adverse childhood experiences as a contributor to food insecurity, the researchers noted.

Higher scores on the adverse childhood experiences survey, for instance, were significantly associated with the severity of participants' household food insecurity.

In interviews, the study participants relayed their perceptions of how emotional and physical abuse in childhood affected their lives, including physical health, school performance and ability to maintain employment, all factors directly linked to household income and ability to afford enough healthy food for their own children.

The study appeared in the journal Public Health Nutrition.


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