Measuring food security: Definitional sensitivity and implications
Six methods for measuring food security are identified from the literature. The dietary intake method (DIM) and the food insecurity experienced-based measurement scales (FIEMS), the two most commonly used, were empirically tested using 1152 rural households in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Results show significant differences in the measurement of food insecure households: 22.9% with DIM vs. 4.7% with FIEMS. A slight change in the food security definition resulted in significant differences. With slight definitional changes, 6.5% of the sample households appeared food insecure using DIM and only 1.1% using FIEMS. Given its high definitional sensitivity, food security must be carefully defined according to country specific conditions and should reflect local diversity.
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