Can experience-based household food security scales help improve food security governance?

Glob Food Sec. 2012 Dec 1;1(2):120-125. doi: 10.1016/j.gfs.2012.10.006.


Experience-based food security scales (EBFSSs) have been shown to be valid across world regions. EBFSSs are increasingly been included in national food and nutrition assessments and food hardship items have been added to regional and global public opinion polls. EBFSSs meet the SMART criteria for identifying useful indicators. And have the potential to help improve accountability, transparency, intersectoral coordination and a more effective and equitable distribution of resources. EBFSSs have increased awareness about food and nutrition insecurity in the court of public opinion. Thus, it's important to understand the potential that EBFSSs have for improving food and nutrition security governance within and across countries. The case of Brazil illustrates the strong likelihood that EBFSSs do have a strong potential to influence food and governance from the national to the municipal level. A recent Gallup World Poll data analysis on the influence of the '2008 food crisis' on food hardship illustrates how even a single item from EBFSSs can help examine if food security governance in different world regions modifies the impact of crises on household food insecurity. Systematic research that bridges across economics, political science, ethics, public health and program evaluation is needed to better understand if and how measurement in general and EBFSSs in particular affect food security governance.

Keywords: experience-based food security scales; food security; governance; nutrition security.