The effectiveness of a short form of the Household Food Security Scale

Am J Public Health. 1999 Aug;89(8):1231-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.89.8.1231.


Objectives: On the basis of an 18-item Household Food Security Scale, a short form was developed to assess financially based food insecurity and hunger in surveys of households with and without children.

Methods: To maximize the probability that households would be correctly classified with respect to food insecurity and hunger, 6 items from the full scale were selected on the basis of April 1995 Current Population Survey data.

Results: The short form classified 97.7% of households correctly and underestimated the prevalence of overall food insecurity and of hunger by 0.3 percentage points.

Conclusions: The short form of the Household Food Security Scale is a brief but potentially useful tool for national surveys and some state/local applications.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Family Characteristics
  • Food Supply*
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Hunger*
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • United States