Examining an "Experimental" Food Security Status Classification Method for Households with Children

Food security, which USDA has measured and tracked since 1995, has become a key national measure of well-being; therefore, it is important that the measure is accurate. Since the food security measure was developed, USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) has conducted ongoing research on the statistical properties of the measure. ERS researchers have developed an alternative “experimental” classification method for classifying food security status in households with children. This alternative approach reduces statistical biases inherent in the current classification approach and improves fit to the Rasch measurement model and its assumptions. Here, ERS evaluates how well the food security-status categories correlate with other food inadequacy and nutritional indicators. The researchers examine whether the experimental classification or the current classification is more consistent with indicators of “food inadequacy,” defined here as food insufficiency, unmet food needs, and use of a food pantry. ERS also examines the association between each of the two food-security-classification methods and dietary quality. Results show that the current classification is more consistent with indicators of food inadequacy. The report includes guidance for researchers using USDA’s food security measure.

Issue Date:
Sep 27 2017
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Technical Bulletin Number 1945

 Record created 2017-10-25, last modified 2020-10-28

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