An Adaptation of the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) for Measuring Food Insecurity Among Women in Socially-Backward Communities

Type Journal Article - Asian Journal of Agriculture
Title An Adaptation of the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) for Measuring Food Insecurity Among Women in Socially-Backward Communities
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2021
Abstract
Recent reviews on the use of experience-based food insecurity scales in the Indian context suggested
the addition of "how often" related items to food insecurity modules to avoid overestimation of
food insecurity, especially in underprivileged communities. Following this recommendation, we
adapted the 8-item Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), an official tool for measuring access
to food within the Sustainable Development Goals (target 2.1), and assessed its validity and
reliability in socially-backward communities in the Indian context. The polytomous Rasch model
was successfully applied and soundly integrated within the probabilistic methodology already in
use for the FIES, allowing the computation of comparable prevalence of food insecurity at different
levels of severity and related measures of uncertainty. Data from the SWABHIMAAN programme
survey, which collected information on food insecurity from mothers of children under two years of
age in three Indian states (Bihar, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh), was used for analysis. Results suggest
that the proposed adapted version of the FIES can be considered as a proper tool for measuring
food insecurity in underprivileged communities, since it satisfies requirements of internal and
external validity and reliability. Individual determinants and protective factors of food insecurity
were also investigated within this methodological framework and results suggest that education,
economic wealth, and homestead kitchen garden can act as a buffer against food insecurity, while
the number of pregnancies seems to exacerbate a situation of food insecurity.