Children living in poverty experience chronic stress from the instability of basic needs such as housing, food, and safety. In particular, food insecurity can lead to consumption of affordable, available foods, which are often ultra-processed. Exposure to chronic stress during childhood contributes to a higher risk of developing inflammation and oxidative stress. This can lead to other physical and mental health consequences such as increased likelihood of asthma, depression, and obesity. The goal of this study is to identify the nutritional effects on inflammation and oxidative stress in 4-year-old children living in poverty in New York state.
Participating families will complete several questionnaires relating to diet and early life experiences of the child. The child will also provide a saliva sample to determine DNA methylation of 24 candidate genes involved in the pathways of inflammation and oxidative stress.