in developing clear concepts for how we should think about hunger and in tested means to accurately elicit information from survey respondents about whether they have experienced hunger.
Recommendation 3-1: USDA should continue to measure and monitor food insecurity regularly in a household survey. Given that hunger is a separate concept from food insecurity, USDA should undertake a program to measure hunger, which is an important potential consequence of food insecurity.
Recommendation 3-2: To measure hunger, which is an individual and not a household construct, USDA should develop measures for individuals on the basis of a structured research program, and develop and implement a modified or new data gathering mechanism. The first step should be to develop an operationally feasible concept and definition of hunger.
Recommendation 3-3: USDA should examine in its research program ways to measure other potential, closely linked consequences of food insecurity, in addition to hunger, such as feelings of deprivation and alienation, distress, and adverse family and social interaction.
It took a lot of discussion and conferences for the Food Security Measurement Project to reach a working agreement on the operational definition of food security and insecurity. Hunger is a complex concept, and it should be well thought through to ensure agreement among the key users and then to develop and test the appropriate questions and to identify the survey mechanism and sample design for collecting the needed data. Such an effort will take time.
The broad conceptual definition of household food insecurity includes more elements than are included in the current USDA measure of food insecurity. The current measure of prevalence of household food insecurity obtained through the HFSSM focuses on the uncertainty and insufficiency of food availability and access that are limited by resource constraints, and the worry or anxiety and hunger that may result from it. It does not include questions on nutritional adequacy, safety, or social unacceptability of food access, concepts that are part of the broad conceptual definition.