mation for monitoring the health of the population. It has a larger sample of 40,000 households, approximately 100,000 people. Most of the information, however, is obtained on a sample adult or child. It could also be considered as a potential vehicle for a food security supplement, although the data that it collects on income and demographic factors are somewhat different from those in the CPS. In Phase 2 of the study, the panel will further consider whether the CPS is the most appropriate vehicle to attach the food security supplement or whether other surveys should be used instead of, or in conjunction with it.

An issue related to the design of the survey used to measure food security is the measurement of the frequency and severity of episodes of food insecurity and their duration. As noted earlier, it is difficult to assess the frequency, severity, and duration of episodes of food insecurity by using the CPS data. Only a few of the questions ask how often events related to food insecurity happen, and those questions ask very little detail about how intense they were or how long they lasted. Such data would be important to understand the mechanisms that cause and may help reduce food insecurity. It is possible that the questions could be better designed for assessing frequency and duration. The use of longitudinal surveys, such as the Survey of Income and Program Participation, could also be used to assess frequency and duration. The panel urges USDA to conduct further work to develop ways to measure the frequency and duration of food insecurity.

Interim Recommendation 4: USDA should explore the use of alternative or additional surveys to estimate the national prevalence of food insecurity. In the meantime, USDA should continue to measure food insecurity as currently conducted using the Food Security Supplement of the Current Population Survey.

Such exploration should include the assessment of the extent of coverage bias in estimates of food insecurity and hunger based on a household sample frame. Issues of the level of accuracy and precision also should be explored. Discussion of these issues, including ample size, periodicity of survey and therefore the estimates, and response



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement