Diaper Need During the COVID-19 Pandemic Associated with Poverty, Food Insecurity, and Chronic Illness: An Analysis of a Representative State Sample of Caretakers with Young Children
Links to Fileshttps://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/heq.2021.0093
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Type of Work9 pages
Citation of Original PublicationDiaper Need During the COVID-19 Pandemic Associated with Poverty, Food Insecurity, and Chronic Illness: An Analysis of a Representative State Sample of Caretakers with Young Children Emily H. Belarmino, Rachel M. Zack, Lauren A. Clay, and Nick W. Birk Health Equity 2022 6:1, 150-158
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Objectives: Diaper need is an important form of material hardship for families with young children. This study quantified diaper need during the COVID-19 pandemic and examined factors associated with diaper need. Methods: Using a representative statewide sample of adults in Massachusetts, diaper need was assessed during the COVID-19 pandemic among respondents with at least one child 0–4 years of age in diapers (n=353). Bivariate tests examined associations between diaper need and individual and household factors. Multivariable regression was used to examine associations between diaper need and demographic factors, job loss, and mental health during the pandemic. Results: More than one in three respondents reported diaper need (36.0%). Demographic factors associated with diaper need were age <25 years, Latino ethnicity, having less than a high school degree, unemployment before the pandemic, household income <$50,000, household food insecurity, or having a household member with a chronic disease. Diaper need was higher among respondents who utilized a nutrition assistance program or a food pantry during the pandemic. In multivariable analyses considering job loss and mental health during the pandemic, diaper need was associated with household income <$50,000 (odds ratio [OR] 3.61; confidence interval [95% CI] 1.40–9.26) and a chronic disease diagnosis within the household (OR 4.26; 95% CI 1.77–10.29). Conclusions: This study indicates a level of diaper need similar to what was documented before the COVID-19 pandemic despite federal stimulus payments and increased distributions by local diaper banks. The findings identify groups at increased risk and suggest opportunities to reach those at risk through food assistance programs.
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