Household Food Insecurity and Child Nutritional Status: Pattern, Causes, and Relationship

  • Francis Adegoke Akanbiemu
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Food is generally known to be one of the basic necessities of life and is known to be crucial to the survival and well-being of individuals, family, community, and the nation at large. Food security covers a wide scope and is beyond food available to individuals, but includes access to kinds of food desired at all times and how well it is utilized. Household food insecurity is defined as the inability of household members to have access to the quantity and quality of food required at all times for their daily energy needs and maintenance of good health.

Studies have shown that the causes of hunger and household food insecurity are a mix of economic, social, poor agricultural practices, and absence of community-driven food assistance program. These factors are those that influence food production and availability of food at markets and stores referred to as supply factors and those that will affect the ability of individuals and household members to be able to purchase food for household consumption, referred to as demand factors. Household food insecurity influences nutritional status of children and is usually assessed using anthropometric methods. Anthropometry is the use of body measurements to assess and classify nutritional status of children 5 years and below. These measurements include age, sex, weight, and height (or length in children 6–23. 9 months or under 87 cm in height). When two of these variables are used together they are called an index. Mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) is used for individuals aged 6 months and older. The common anthropometric parameters are Height-for-age used to assess stunting and is used to detect children who have been undernourished for not less than 6 months otherwise referred to as chronic malnutrition; Weight-for-height which detects children suffering from current or acute under-nutrition and is usually referred to as wasting and Weight-for-age used to identify underweight. The factors found to be associated with nutritional status of children less than 5 years are household food insecurity, feeding practices, family wealth status, and education of caregiver. This chapter explained the effect of household food insecurity on the nutritional status of children less than 5 years and measures designed to address both household food insecurity and identified child nutritional problems. Conclusively causes of household food insecurity and child nutritional problems were used as a guide to their solution.


Household food insecurity Child nutritional status, pattern, causes and relationship 

List of Abbreviations


Food and Agriculture Development of the United Nations


Food assistance programme


Household dietary diversity scale


Household food insecurity access scale


Mid-upper arm circumference


National Center for Health Statistics Growth Reference


Standard deviation


United Nations Children’s Fund


World food program


World Health Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francis Adegoke Akanbiemu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Board, Oke-EdaAkureNigeria
  2. 2.Planning, Research and StatisticsOndo State Hospitals’ Management BoardAkureNigeria

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