Food Security

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 679–688 | Cite as

Internal validity of the Food Access Survey Tool in assessing household food insecurity in rural Zambia

  • Muzi Na
  • Alden L. Gross
  • Lee S. F. Wu
  • Bess L. Caswell
  • Sameera A. Talegawkar
  • Amanda C. Palmer
Original Paper


We assessed the internal validity of the Food Access Survey Tool (FAST) using data from households (n = 907) enrolled in an efficacy trial of biofortified maize in rural Zambia. This scale assesses food insecurity over a 6-month recall period. A Rasch partial credit model was used to evaluate item performance. Unidimensionality was assessed by principal component analysis, monotonicity was assessed by non-parametric methods, and differential item functioning (DIF) by several characteristics was assessed by cumulative ordinal logistic regression models. One item (frequency of consuming three square meals) did not fit the partial credit model. The remaining eight items fit in a primary single statistical dimension and item category severity increased monotonically with increasing severity of food insecurity. We identified statistically significant DIF in three subgroup comparisons, but effect sizes of total DIF were considered practically insignificant (<2 %). After excluding the item on “square meals,” the FAST serves as an internally valid tool to measure household food insecurity in rural Zambia.


Food insecurity Internal validation Item response theory Rasch model Zambia 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and International Society for Plant Pathology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muzi Na
    • 1
  • Alden L. Gross
    • 2
  • Lee S. F. Wu
    • 1
  • Bess L. Caswell
    • 1
  • Sameera A. Talegawkar
    • 3
  • Amanda C. Palmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Human Nutrition, Department of International HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Milken Institute School of Public HealthThe George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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