Online Program

Using a new method of measuring community food security to inform practice and policy

Monday, November 4, 2013

Michelle Kaiser, PhD, MSW, MPH, College of Social Work, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
1)INTROUDCTION: This study extends the knowledge of food security beyond sociodemographic predictors to include food environment indicators (access to food stores, availability of various food stores, affordability, availability and use of public and private food assistance programs, and local food production). 2)METHODS: Secondary data was analyzed from the USDA Food Environment Atlas and the American Community Survey for 114 counties in a Midwest state. A validated model estimation technique was used to estimate county level food insecurity based on nine state-level sociodemographic predictors and USDA food security rates. A PCA was used to reduce the food environment data into components. Extracted component scores were used to 1) identify the most important food environment predictors, and 2) produce estimates of community food insecure households. 3)RESULTS: The PCA reduced the data from 46 to 22 indicators. Six components (food programs, access, agricultural production, direct farm sales, program usage, affordability and availability) were retained, accounting for 76.43% of variance. The model explained 58.7% of variance of community food security. Availability and affordability contributed the most, followed by program usage, access, and agricultural production. Transportation limitations and distance to food stores were risk factors. Housing affordability protected communities. Low community food insecure counties distributed more emergency food and had more Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. 4)DISCUSSION: This method for measuring community food security allows a way to conceptualize systems components that can be manipulated through interventions. Examples include increasing affordable housing stock, piloting a CSA program, improving public transportation, or increasing emergency food supplies.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the value of measuring community food security beyond sociodemographic predictors. Identify the most important food environment predictors in terms of community food security. Demonstrate the practical use of a community food security measurement tool for policymakers and practitioners.

Keyword(s): Food Security, Community

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a co-investigator on one federal grant and one large foundation grant focused on food security and the food environment. I am currently a principal investigator on one internally funded grant as a part of 25 people using GIS and statistical analyses to understand aspects of the food environment at a local level. I am also a co-investigator on two food security initiatives and have authored several papers on the topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.