Prevalence of household-level food insecurity and its determinants in an urban resettlement colony in North India

Prevalence of household-level food insecurity and its determinants in an urban resettlement colony in North India

An adequate food intake, in terms of quantity and quality, is a key to healthy life. Malnutrition is the most serious consequence of food insecurity and has a multitude of health and economic implications. India has the world’s largest population living in slums, and these have largely been underserved areas. The State of Food Insecurity in the World (2012) estimates that India is home to more than 217 million undernourished people. Various studies have been conducted to assess food insecurity at the global level; however, the literature is limited as far as India is concerned. This study is conducted with the objective of documenting the prevalence of food insecurity at the household level and the factors determining its existence in an urban slum population of northern India. This cross-sectional study is conducted in an urban resettlement colony of South Delhi, India. A pre-designed, pre-tested, semi-structured questionnaire was used for collecting socioeconomic details and information regarding dietary practices. Food insecurity was assessed using Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS). Logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the factors associated with food insecurity. A total of 250 women were interviewed through house-to-house survey. Majority of the households were having a nuclear family (61.6%), with mean family size being 5.5 (SD±2.5) and the mean monthly household income being INR 9,784 (SD±631). Nearly half (53.3%) of the mean monthly household income is spent on food. The study finds that a total of 77.2% households are food-insecure, with 49.2% households being mildly food-insecure, 18.8% of the households being moderately food-insecure, and 9.2% of the households being severely food-insecure. Higher education of the women handling food (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.15-0.92; p≤0.03) and number of earning members in the household (OR 0.68, 95% CI 0.48-0.98; p≤0.04) are associated with lesser chance/odds of being food-insecure. The study demonstrates a high prevalence of food insecurity in the marginalised section of the urban society. The Government of India needs to adopt urgent measures to combat this problem.

[Adapted from author]

  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.