Recommendations from the Authors

de Haen and Klasen first emphasized that each of the indicators discussed above have its particular strengths and weaknesses (Table I 1-1). As a result, a key recommendation is to first work towards a suite of indicators that draws on the respective strengths of each approach. A first step in that direction is to be more transparent about the methods for calculating the measures, and to assemble information in one place (e.g., a Web site) that allows immediate comparisons using all the measures used. Moreover, de Haen and Klasen made several recommendations for improving the FAO indicator, namely, strengthening the food balance sheets data, updating the coefficients of variation, and resuming estimates of the depth of hunger. They also suggested expanding living-standard measurement surveys and possibly linking them to anthropometric surveys (or adding anthropometric measurements where possible). In addition, they recommended using these surveys to derive additional nutrition indicators such as dietary diversity (e.g., using food expenditure modules) and overweight and obesity indicators (using anthropometric measurements of household members), and expanding surveys to include indicators of micronutrient deficiencies (e.g., biomarkers). de Haen and Klasen emphasized that food security is not synonymous to nutritional security, and that both types of indicators should be generated. That is, nutritional security depends not just on food intake but also on physiological condition, health, sanitation etc. They also noted that the common metrics used to assess food insecurity are often inconsistent and focus on chronic food insecurity and on deficiency of energy (kilocalories), ignoring the important dimension of dietary quality. Different metrics are needed to assess the effect of short term price rises and supply disruptions as well as to gauge the magnitude, type, and depth of hunger and to develop appropriate policy responses.

As next steps, they suggested establishing an on-line inventory of various indicators and taking steps to enhance the empirical databases. They also recommended a number of institutional reforms, including encouraging key agencies to cooperate in overcoming incompatibilities between methods and advocating and promoting country owned measurements and policy responses.

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