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Linking Housing Instability and Children's Health

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that housing instability is connected to poor health outcomes for low-income children and their caregivers. The study, Unstable Housing and Caregiver and Child Health in Renter Families, includes findings from interviews with caregivers of children up to age four in five urban medical centers from 2009 to 2015.

Researchers looked at health outcomes associated with three forms of housing insecurity, including being behind on rent in the past 12 months, multiple moves in the past year, and a child’s lifetime history of homelessness. The study found that each adverse housing circumstance was linked to outcomes such as higher rates of maternal depressive symptoms, food insecurity, and lifetime hospitalizations.

Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics include social screening by health care providers, including possibly assessing for housing insecurity in high-risk practices.

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