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      Prevalence and socioeconomic and geographical inequalities of household food insecurity in the Paris region, France, 2010

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          Food insecurity (FI) is the situation where people do not have, at all times, access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence of FI in the Paris area by using, for the first time in France, a specific FI questionnaire and to identify the characteristics of food-insecure households, taking into account a potential neighbourhood effect.


          This study is based on data from the third wave of the SIRS cohort study (a representative, population-based socioepidemiological study) that were analysed using a cross-sectional design. In 2010, 3000 individuals in the Paris metropolitan area (PMA) were interviewed. FI was investigated by means of the USDA’s HFSSM. We used stratified multilevel models across three household income categories to identify populations at risk for FI.


          In 2010, 6.30% (95% CI = [4.99-7.97]) of the households in the PMA experienced FI (up to 13.59% in the most underprivileged neighbourhoods). About 2.50% of the households experienced severe FI and 2.85% of household living with an income above 1666 € experienced food insecurity, whereas the percentage raises to 23.38% among those living below the poverty threshold (<791 €). Depending on the income level, different household characteristics emerged as being associated with FI. In the poorest households, the presence of a child under 3 years of age was associated with an increased risk of FI (OR = 2.11; p = 0.03). Among higher-income households, the household composition appeared to be strongly associated with FI.


          FI exists in several social groups in France. Its prevalence in the most underprivileged households should be considered an indicator of vulnerability, which could permit targeted social assistance policies.

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          Most cited references 32

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          Trends in food and nutritional intakes of French adults from 1999 to 2007: results from the INCA surveys.

          Two independent cross-sectional dietary surveys (the Individual and National Food Consumption Surveys, INCA), performed in 1998-99 (INCA1) and in 2006-07 (INCA2) on nationally representative samples of French people, were used to analyse trends in the dietary habits and nutritional intake of French adults. Food consumption was recorded through 7-d dietary records, and nutritional intakes were assessed using the French food composition database. After exclusion of under-reporters, analyses were performed on 3267 adults, aged 18-79 years: 1345 from INCA1 and 1922 from INCA2. The trends highlighted over the 8-year period showed a decrease in consumption of dairy products, meat, bread, potatoes, pastries/croissant-like pastries/cakes/biscuits and sugar/confectionery. In contrast, the consumption of fruits and vegetables, rice, ice cream and chocolate increased. Other food groups, like fish and snacking foods, remained stable. Food choices were mostly age specific. These age differences remained consistent over the years and underlined two opposite dietary trends: a 'traditional' one mainly followed by the elderly, and a 'snacking and convenience' one mainly adopted by young adults. The overall trends in food consumption did not influence the mean energy intake, but did slightly modify the contribution of each macronutrient to energy intake. These repeated surveys highlighted the fact that trends in French food habits have moved towards an average European diet at the crossroads between Mediterranean and Northern diets, and that food consumption changes impacted, to a lesser extent, nutritional intake.
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            Measurement of household food security in the USA and other industrialised countries.

             K L Radimer (2002)
            To describe the history and current status of household food security measurement. In the 1980s evidence of rising levels of hunger was a concern for many, but disputed by some, Americans. Acknowledgement and quantification of hunger was hindered by the lack of an accepted definition and measure of hunger. Qualitative research at Cornell provided a conceptual framework, description, definition and survey items for hunger. The Community Childhood Hunger Identification Project developed an instrument used in numerous communities. Based upon these initiatives, widely accepted definitions of hunger and food insecurity, and the US Household Food Security Module for its measurement, now exist. The module classifies households as food-secure, or food-insecure without hunger or with moderate or severe hunger, and contains household-, adult- and child-referent items. Its inclusion in the Current Population Survey (CPS) since 1995 has yielded annual estimates of food insecurity. A six-item short form of the module, for surveys with severe time constraints, classifies households only as food-secure or food-insecure without or with hunger and contains no child-specific items. Surveys using the 18-item or short-form module can compare results with published national data from the CPS. Information about the module is available at and http://www.fns.usda/fsec. Current research on food security measurement includes measurement of individual food insecurity and hunger, module performance regarding hunger duration and frequency, performance of the module in population sub-groups, and the effect of translations on module meaning and performance. National surveys in Canada, New Zealand and Australia also have measured food security.
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              Food security, poverty, and human development in the United States.

              Access to food is essential to optimal development and function in children and adults. Food security, food insecurity, and hunger have been defined and a U.S. Food Security Scale was developed and is administered annually by the Census Bureau in its Current Population Survey. The eight child-referenced items now make up a Children's Food Security Scale. This review summarizes the data on household and children's food insecurity and its relationship with children's health and development and with mothers' depressive symptoms. It is demonstrable that food insecurity is a prevalent risk to the growth, health, cognitive, and behavioral potential of America's poor and near-poor children. Infants and toddlers in particular are at risk from food insecurity even at the lowest levels of severity, and the data indicate an "invisible epidemic" of a serious condition. Food insecurity is readily measured and rapidly remediable through policy changes, which a country like the United States, unlike many others, is fully capable of implementing. The food and distribution resources exist; the only constraint is political will.

                Author and article information

                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central
                20 May 2013
                : 13
                : 486
                [1 ]University Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, UMR-S 707, Paris, France
                [2 ]INSERM, U707, Research team on the social determinants of health and healthcare, 27 rue de Chaligny, Paris, 75012, France
                [3 ]INRA, U1303, Research team on diet and social science, 65 boulevard de Brandebourg, Ivry sur Seine, 94205, France
                [4 ]CNRS, ERIS, Research team on social inequality, 48 boulevard Jourdan, Paris, 75014, France
                Copyright ©2013 Martin-Fernandez et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Public health


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