The Socio-demographic Characteristics Associated with Food Insecurity among Vulnerable Households in a District of Tehran

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Associate Professor of Demography, Department of Demography and Population Study Tehran University, Iran.

2 Associate Professor of Community-based Nutrition, Faculty of Nutrition Sciences and Food Technology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Demographer of Food and Nutrition, Pharmaceutical and Food Corporation of Sadaf Darou Saba Inc., Tehran, Iran.

4 Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Tehran University, Iran.

Abstract

Food insecurity, as a multi-faceted problem with far-reaching health and societal consequences, is prevalent among disadvantaged households. Household food insecurity has made the notion operationally useful in the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs and policies. This study was to investigate the socio-demographic associates contributing to severity of food insecurity among vulnerable households under the coverage of a widespread relief program in Iran. The adapted Radimer / Cornell questionnaire was used to assess severity of food insecurity. The effect of the socio-demographic variables on the severity of the problem was evaluated using Polynomial Logistic Regression. This study was carried out among a sample of eligible households (n= 300) under the coverage of the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation in a district of Tehran. The findings indicate that 98.6 percent of the sample had experienced food insecurity, while 67 percent were severely food insecure. Food insecurity at the household level was more severe than child level. Having a sick person in the families was the most significant contributor to the severity of the food insecurity. Gender of the household head, health status, education, employment status, and the household size were among other important independent variables. Briefly, even though the intensity of food insecurity varies among the family members, high rate of that among the mothers and children reemphasizes the higher priority that should be given to these groups. Plus, financial burden imposed by having a chronically sick person in the families, which are economically unstable, further exacerbates food insecurity.

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