Re-conceptualizing Food Insecurity with a New, Multi-dimensional Scale




Johnson, Cassandra M.
Ammerman, Alice S.
Adair, Linda S.
Aiello, Allison E.
Flax, Valerie L.
Elliott, Sinikka
Bowen, Sarah K.

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Background: USDA's Food Security Survey Module - measure of food insecurity; Used for national monitoring and surveillance in Canada and US; FSSM has important limitations. Objective: To develop and evaluate a new, multi-dimensional measure of food insecurity for use in programs and research. Methods: Cross-sectional data (2014-2015) from prospective project; Voices Into Action: The Families, Food, and Health Project; Diverse sample of mothers from North Carolina (n=109); Qualitative and quantitative data; In-depth interviews; Surveys; Four-Dimensional Food Insecurity Scale (4D-FIS) reflects four dimensions of food insecurity: Quantitative; Qualitative; Psychological; Social. Categorization of severity: Food secure; Mildly food insecure; Severely food insecure. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to examine the hypothesized, four-factor structure of 4D-FIS. Concordance analysis to compare categorization between the two food insecurity scales: 1) 4D-FIS and 2) USDA FSSM adult scale (2). Results: Data supported the four-factor model; 4D-FIS categorized more participants as food insecure vs. USDA scale; Fair to moderate agreement in categorization between scales. Conclusions: Promising alternative measure; Implications for programs, interventions, and research applications.



food insecurity, nutrition, socio-economic inequalities, Four Dimensional Food Insecurity Scale, 4D-FIS, USDA scale, confirmatory factor analysis, Family and Consumer Sciences


Johnson, C., Ammerman, A., Adair, L., Aiello, A., Flax, V., Elliott, S., & Bowen, S. (2016). Re-conceptualizing food insecurity with a new, multi-dimensional scale. Poster presented at the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) Annual Meeting, Cape Town, South Africa.


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