Objective : Food Security has become a global concern, yet its measurement has varied considerably across disciplines and countries. We examined the current discrepancies in the definitions of food security and propose a framework for understanding and measuring food security.
Methods : This conceptual review draws from a range of works published in Medline and the gray literature to advance the understanding of food security concepts. We begin by examining the historical background of food security and then move on to examine its various definitions and interpret food through cultural lenses in terms of food access and utilization. We finish by examining various measurements and indicators of food security and reviewing implications for public health.
Results : We argue that the reliance on coping strategies as surrogate measurements of food insecurity without taking into account the social, cultural, and political contexts in which they occur is misleading, and viewing food insecurity solely from a food access or availability perspective, without taking into account food utilization and asset creation as pillars of food security, paints an incomplete picture. Although this review does not claim to provide solutions to the discrepancies in the conceptual definition of food security, it attempts to highlights areas of concern and provide a way forward.
Conclusion : When coping strategies are used as an indicator of food insecurity, they need to be culturally relevant and focus tested, and together with objective measurements of nutritional outcomes, would allow policy makers to make evidence-based decisions to inform social and nutrition policies.
Field of Research
111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
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