Is food security measurement sensitive to its definition and measurement method?

M.K. Bashir, Steven Schilizzi

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Three hundred studies on the subject of food security measurement were systematically reviewed using a meta-analysis technique to review food security measurement methods and their pros and cons. Six methods for measuring food security are identified from the literature. It was noted that the dietary intake assessment (DIA) and the food insecurity experienced-based measurement scales (FIEMS) were those most used by researchers. Furthermore, we tested both these methods using primary data from 1152 rural households in the Punjab province of Pakistan. The results of DIA showed that 23% of the sample households are food insecure, while the results of FIEMS yielded only 5% of the sample households. In addition, a slight change in the definition of food security resulted in notable variations in the proportion of food insecure households. The selection of food security definition and measurement method is crucial for estimating the extent of food insecurity. We recommend that the definition or threshold level defined by the local health departments in the study areas be selected. This will encompass the diversity of cultural, social and physical needs of people. © CAB International 2013.


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