Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Aging and Chronic Disease, Obesity
Food insecurity (FI) is one of the leading health and nutrition issues in Uganda, where it affects 30% of the population of the country. It negatively impacts physical, mental, and social health that in turn affect nutritional requirements. The purpose of this study was therefore to (1) determine the prevalence of FI in Uganda from 2014 to 2017 (2) assess whether or not the linear additive combination of socio-economic and demographic factors affect FI in Uganda in the studied years; and (3) assess the association between FI and Physical Health Index (PHI).
Methods : We used Gallup World Poll data for Uganda from 2014 to 2017, 4000 respondents ( >15 yr). FI was assessed in eight binary response items measured according to the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) (Voices of Hungry project, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). For redundancy analyses (RDA), the rda function (vegan package in R) was used. Path analysis was used to investigate assumptions regarding recursivity and directions of causal relationships.
The linear combination of socioeconomic and demographic factors explained on average 18% of the variance in the items of the FIES. Nevertheless, permutation tests indicated the high level of statistical significance of the RDA models (all p = .0001, the lowest possible value after 999 permutations). Linear regression indicated that the raw FIES score increased by approximately .5 per year. High levels of the PHI were associated with low levels of FI. Furthermore, low levels of PHI were correlated with increased business corruption in 2016 and 2017. Heterogeneous associations between business corruption and levels of FI was found over the four years of the study. Unemployment, low education levels, low income, being single, and living in a larger household and in a large city were positively associated with FI. As expected, household size was negatively correlated with income in 2014, 2016, and 2017.
The results indicated that the studied factors of FI explained a statistically significant portion of the variance in experiences of FI in Uganda in the years of the study. Further structural equation modeling (path modeling) will be necessary for the evaluation and proposals of policies and programs related to food security, health, and nutrition in Uganda.
Funding Sources : None.