on the Core Indicators of Nutritional State for Difficult-to-Sample Populations for the American Institute of Nutrition under the provisions of a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). This report was published in the Journal of Nutrition (Anderson, 1990). The report contains what have become the consensus definitions for food insecurity and hunger.

Also in 1990, the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (NNMRR) was enacted (Public Law 101-445). Section 103 of the Act required the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, with the advice of a board, to prepare and implement a 10-year comprehensive plan to assess the dietary and nutritional status of the U.S. population. Task V-C-2.4 in the plan specified (Federal Register 1993, 58:32 752–806):

Recommend a standardized mechanism and instrument(s) for defining and obtaining data on the prevalence of “food insecurity” or “food insufficiency” in the U.S. and methodologies that can be used across the NNMRR Program and at state and local levels.”

In response, a federal interagency working group comprising representatives from several federal agencies, academic researchers, private research institutions, and other stakeholders developed a food security survey module, a set of food security scales that combine information from sets of questions in the module, and a classification rule for characterizing the food security status of each household surveyed.

These measurement and monitoring activities had a number of policy-related objectives:

  • Provide objective, standardized information on the extent and severity of food insecurity and the characteristics of persons affected by them so that allocation of public resources and development of public policies and programs can be based on informed public debate. The mission statement of the Food and Nutrition Service, which administers the food assistance programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), includes the goal of increasing food security: “FNS increases food security and reduces hunger in partnership with cooperating orga-

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