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Evaluation of the Usda Food Security Measure with Generalized Linear Mixed Models (An)


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  • Opsomer, Jean D.
  • Jensen, Helen H.
  • Pan, Suwen


Over the last decade, new information has been developed and collected to measure the extent of food insecurity and hunger in the United States. Common measurement of the phenomenon of hunger and food insecurity has become possible through efforts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a set of survey questions that can be used to obtain estimates of the prevalence and severity of food insecurity. This paper takes a closer look at the measurement of food insecurity and the effect of household variables on measured food insecurity. The effects of demographic and survey-specific variables on the food insecurity/hunger scale are evaluated using a generalized linear model with mixed effects. Data come from the 1995, 1997, and 1999 Food Security Module of the Current Population Survey. The results generally validate the model currently used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, our approach makes it possible to consider the effect of demographics and several survey design variables on food security among measurably food-insecure households. The analysis of the expanded model with the 1995 data finds results similar to those reported based on the Rasch model used by the USDA. Even though the sample size was reduced and a number of screening and questionnaire changes were introduced in 1997 and 1999, the results for those years appear mostly unchanged and confirm the robustness of the scale in measuring food insecurity. There is some evidence that interpretation of questions may vary among different demographic groups.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 10019.

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Date of creation: 13 Sep 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Nutrition 2003, vol. 133, pp. 421-427
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:10019

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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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Keywords: food insecurity; household hunger; Rasch model.;

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  1. Nord, Mark, 2005. "Measuring U.S. Household Food Security," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, April.
  2. Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2002. "Household Food Security In The United States, 2001," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33865, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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Cited by:
  1. Pan, Suwen & Jensen, Helen H., 2008. "Does the Food Stamp Program Affect Food Security Status and the Composition of Food Expenditures?," Staff General Research Papers 12896, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.


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