Aging and Chronic Disease
Community and Public Health Nutrition
Maternal, Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition
Objectives : The Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) is widely used though it has limited cross-cultural applicability. Among families with underweight children in three Cambodian districts, the HFIAS-derived prevalence of moderate/severe food insecurity was about 45%, though interviewers reported that caregivers have difficulty understanding the questions.This study seeks to develop a locally appropriate tool for measuring household food security in Cambodia.
Methods : Caregivers of children ages 6-24 months were screened using the Household Hunger Scale. Following Coping Strategies Index (CSI) guidance, three focus group discussions (FGD) were held with 25 food insecure caregivers from 10 villages. Participants developed a list of coping strategies in response to the question, “What do you do when you do not have enough food, and do not have enough money to buy food?” By consensus, participants weighted coping strategies in order of increasing severity. Strategies were assessed for inclusion using CSI criteria. The research and local teams combined the three lists into a single tool maintaining much of the local vocabulary.
Results : FGD 1 identified 16 coping strategies: one was excluded because it could not be done readily, and two were combined. FGD 2 identified 16: one was excluded because it was not repeatable, and four were combined into two. FGD 3 identified 19: six were combined into three. Seven strategies were identified in all three FGDs and seven were identified in two FGDs. Four strategies were identified in only one FGD. The resulting index is comprised of 18 coping strategies. Three strategies were weighted least severe (1). Example: “Eat rice without fish or meat.” Seven were weighted somewhat severe (2). Example: “Make food last longer by eating smaller portions and keeping it for longer than intended.” Five were weighted as more severe (3). Example: “Sell or consume seed stock held for next season.” Three strategies were weighted as most severe (4). Example: “Borrow rice or money from a lender or employer with high interest.”
Conclusions : Context-specific coping strategies may be useful in measuring food security in Cambodia. Future research is needed to examine the validity of this tool in comparison to established food insecurity experiences scales.
Funding Sources : World Vision Hong Kong