rately) for children. The questions are intended to measure both whether a household is “food secure” and the severity of food insecurity. The least severe form of food insecurity is worrying about getting enough food, and the most severe is skipping or cutting back on meals or losing weight because of lack of food. Each question references a specific time frame, either the past 12 months or the past 30 days, depending on the question. Separate scales are used for the different reference periods. The questions that comprise the food security scale are shown in Box 2-1.

BOX 2-1
Questions Used to Assess the Food Security of Households in the CPS Food Security Survey

  1. “We worried whether our food would run out before we got money to buy more.” Was that often, sometimes, or never true for you in the last 12 months?

  2. “The food that we bought just didn’t last and we didn’t have money to get more.” Was that often, sometimes, or never true for you in the last 12 months?

  3. “We couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals.” Was that often, sometimes, or never true for you in the last 12 months?

  4. In the last 12 months, did you or other adults in the household ever cut the size of your meals or skip meals because there wasn’t enough money for food? (Yes/No)

  5. (If yes to Question 4) How often did this happen—almost every month, some months but not every month, or in only 1 or 2 months?

  6. In the last 12 months, did you ever eat less than you felt you should because there wasn’t enough money for food? (Yes/No)

  7. In the last 12 months, were you ever hungry, but didn’t eat, because you couldn’t afford enough food? (Yes/No)

  8. In the last 12 months, did you lose weight because you didn’t have enough money for food? (Yes/No)

  9. In the last 12 months did you or other adults in your household ever not eat for a whole day because there wasn’t enough money for food? (Yes/No)



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