During the first phase of the study, the panel reviewed a number of articles and papers prepared or sponsored by USDA to assess the methodological concerns about the food security measures and other published and unpublished papers.

The panel met on two occasions to deliberate on the issues listed above. The first meeting was held in March 2004. In the public part of the meeting, USDA staff and other experts in the field briefed the panel on the history of the conceptual and technical development of the measure and on the uses of the food security measure. Critics of the current measurement methodology presented their views, and USDA staff and other meeting attendees were given the opportunity to respond.

The panel held a large workshop, as called for in the contract, to obtain input from a wide range of researchers and other interested members of the public. The Workshop on the Measurement of Food Insecurity and Hunger was held on July 15, 2004. The agenda, presenters, and discussants for the workshop appear in Appendix B.

Four background papers were prepared by experts and presented at the workshop (the full text of the papers is available at http//

  • Conceptualization and Instrumentation of Food Security by J.P. Habicht, G. Pelto, E.A. Frongillo, and D. Rose;

  • The Uses and Purposes of the USDA Food Security and Hunger Measure by P. Wilde;

  • Item-Response Models and Their Use in Measuring Food Security and Hunger by M.S. Johnson; and

  • Alternative Construction of a Food Security and Hunger Measure from 1995 Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement Data by K. Alaimo and A. Froelich.

Discussants were asked to give their reactions to these papers, and open discussion sessions were set aside for general comments from participants. A roundtable discussion on the questionnaire design and cognitive aspects of the survey module was also held during the workshop.

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