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Federal Activities to Monitor Food Security

  • Joanne F. Guthrie
    Affiliations
    This article was written by Joanne F. Guthrie, PhD, MPH, RD, assistant deputy director, Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, and Mark Nord, PhD, team leader, Food Security Research at USDA—Economic Research Service, USA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Mark Nord
    Affiliations
    This article was written by Joanne F. Guthrie, PhD, MPH, RD, assistant deputy director, Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, and Mark Nord, PhD, team leader, Food Security Research at USDA—Economic Research Service, USA
    Search for articles by this author
      Food security is defined as “access by all people, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life” (
      • Anderson S.A.
      Core Indicators of Nutritional State for Difficult-To-Sample Populations.
      ). The ability of households to consistently acquire an adequate food supply may have important effects on an individual's quality of diet, physical health, and emotional and social well-being. The food security of American households has been monitored annually since 1995 by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), through a nationally representative survey conducted by the US Census Bureau. Food security is measured by a scale calculated from individuals’ responses to a series of questions about experiences and behaviors known to characterize households that are having difficulties meeting their food needs. This standardized measure has also been adopted by researchers and community workers for use in other national and local surveys and as part of research projects.
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