An assessment of various household food security measures in Hawaiì has implications for national food security research and monitoring

J Nutr. 2001 Mar;131(3):749-57. doi: 10.1093/jn/131.3.749.


The Core Food Security Module (CFSM), the national food security monitoring tool, requires three affirmative responses to categorize households as food insecure. If this tool is unreliable or inaccurate, vulnerable segments of our population may be adversely affected. The objectives of the present study were to assess the credibility of applying the CFSM categorical measure to a population sample from Hawaiì and to assess the concurrent validity of the CFSM, the new face-valid measure and measures adapted from the Radimer/Cornell (RC) measure and Community Childhood Hunger Identification Project. The sample included 1469 respondents gathered through a statewide telephone sample and 144 food pantry recipients. Responses to the 18 CFSM questions were used to create all four measures. The credibility of the CFSM categorical measure was also assessed via comparisons with individual items and with the 1995 national modal CFSM response pattern. Categorical measures were compared across food security prevalence estimates and indices of income and vegetable intake and with the CFSM scale measure. Differences in the modal response pattern between samples affected CFSM categorization. Only 36% of households followed the Hawaiì modal response pattern, and categorization was not consistent with the content of key items. Although 85% of the households were classified as food secure by the CFSM, only 78% were classified as food secure with each of the other food security measures. Concurrent validity of all measures was confirmed. A reassessment of the national CFSM categorical measure appears warranted.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asia / ethnology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Food Supply / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hawaii / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hunger / classification*
  • Income
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Pacific Islands / ethnology
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables