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      Development of indicators to assess hunger.

      The Journal of Nutrition
      Adult, African Americans, Eating, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Humans, Hunger, Interviews as Topic, Middle Aged, New York, Research Design, Rural Population, Urban Population

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          Despite widespread concern about hunger in America, efforts to monitor and assess the extent of hunger have been hampered by lack of consensus on an appropriate meaning for the term hunger and by the lack of valid indicators to assess it. The first phase of the research used qualitative methods to derive a socially-appropriate definition of hunger. Thirty-two women in Upstate New York were interviewed regarding their experience with food problems and hunger. The interviews were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Results indicated that women had a narrow and a broad concept of hunger. The narrow concept focused on going without food for a specified period of time and the physical sensation of hunger. The broad one included two dimensions: household and individual hunger. Each had quantitative, qualitative, psychological, and social components. The second phase of the research used survey methodology to examine the validity and reliability of items designed to measure the conceptual definition of hunger. The survey was administered to 189 women in Upstate New York who participated in programs designed for low-income households or households in need of food. The second phase confirmed the conceptualization of hunger developed in the first phase. A subset of valid and reliable items that represented each of the major dimensions and components of hunger was identified as being useful for monitoring and assessing hunger.

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