Food Security

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 239–250 | Cite as

Experiential household food insecurity in an urban underserved slum of North India

  • Siddharth AgarwalEmail author
  • Vani Sethi
  • Palak Gupta
  • Meenakshi Jha
  • Ayushi Agnihotri
  • Mark Nord
Original Paper


One-third of India’s urban population resides in extreme poverty, in slums and squatters. Food insecurity remains a visible reality among this segment. Yet, it is scarcely documented. This paper describes levels and determinants of experiential household food insecurity (HFI) in an underserved urban slum of Delhi (India) and reports the internal validity and reliability of the measure used to assess experiential HFI. A four-item scale was adapted from the U.S. six-item short-form food security scale and was administered in Hindi through household interviews with 410 female adults. Association of HFI with household economic and socio-demographic characteristics were examined using multiple logistic regression. Cronbach’s alpha and Rasch-model-based item fit statistics were used to assess reliability and internal validity. Fifty-one percent of households were food insecure. Significant HFI predictors were unemployed to employed family members’ ratio of > 3:1 (Odds Ratio 2.1, Confidence Interval 1.2 – 3.4) and low household standard of living (OR 4.9, C.I. 2.7 – 8.9). Cronbach’s alpha was 0.8. Item severities as estimated under Rasch model assumptions spanned 9.7 logits. Item infit statistics (0.77 – 1.07) indicated that the Rasch model fit the data well. Item outfit statistics suggested that one item was inconsistently understood by a small proportion of respondents. For improving HFI among the urban poor, in addition to improving behaviors/entitlement access, programs should consider linkage of urban poor to existing employment schemes, upgrading of their skills and linkage to potential employers. The adapted scale was reliable and easy to administer. However, being a subjective assessment, its sensitivity to social expectation and its association with nutrition security require examination.


Urban poor Household food insecurity Slums 



We are grateful to the respondents and local facilitators for their active participation in this study. We are thankful to Pradeep Patra, Mainak Chatterjee, S. Kaushik, Paramita Banerjee and Dimple Kondal for their support.


The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the institutions the authors are affiliated with.

Authorship Statement

SA conceptualized and designed the study and participated in conceptualization of the paper. VS conceptualized the paper and analysis plan, conducted the descriptive data analysis and drafted the manuscript. AA designed the study tools and supervised data collection and data entry. AA also participated in conceptualization of the paper. PG and MJ collected the data, carried out the data entry and participated in data interpretation. MD conducted the Rasch model analysis and wrote related sections of the manuscript. All authors provided inputs in reviewing and editing the manuscript.

Conflict of Interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. & International Society for Plant Pathology 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Siddharth Agarwal
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vani Sethi
    • 2
  • Palak Gupta
    • 3
  • Meenakshi Jha
    • 3
  • Ayushi Agnihotri
    • 2
  • Mark Nord
    • 4
  1. 1.Urban Health Resource CenterNew Delhi-29India
  2. 2.Formerly, Urban Health Resource CenterNew Delhi-29India
  3. 3.Department of Food and NutritionLady Irwin CollegeNew Delhi-01India
  4. 4.Food Assistance Branch, Economic Research ServiceU.S. Department of AgricultureWashington DCUSA

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