Background Hunger and food insecurity remain to be a global concern. Measuring experiences of hunger and food insecurity has always been a challenge given the various tools available to provide these estimates both at the macro and micro level of the experience. In the Philippines, estimates of food insecurity have been provided by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) starting 2001 using an adaptation of the Radimer/Cornell measures of hunger and food insecurity. The tool has been found to be reliable using the 2003 data extracted from the 6th National Nutrition Survey, Food Security module.
Objectives The study assessed the construct validity of the adapted Radimer/Cornell instrument for measuring household food insecurity in the country by providing a factor model of the food insecurity construct.
Methods Construct validity of the adapted Radimer/Cornell measure of food insecurity used by the FNRI was assessed using principal component analysis with varimax rotation based on 2003 data of 3,568 households with 0 to 10 year old children.
Result The tool identified “altered eating pattern” (factor 1) and “anxiety over quantity and quality of food” (factor 2) to characterize food security among Filipino households, with “altered eating pattern” among women and children contributing 44.0 percent and 23.16 percent of the total variance. A total cumulative variance of 67.16 percent can explain in significant terms the variability in food insecurity among Filipino individuals and households using the tool.
Conclusion The food security items in the adapted Radimer/Cornell instrument contain valid indicators of food insecurity in Filipino households. While individual food security explained a higher proportion of the total variance compared to the household level items, this does not preclude the ability of the tool to detect food insecurity at the household level.
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