Journal Articles

The food security continuum: a novel tool for understanding food insecurity as a range of experiences

The current lack of consensus on the relationships between hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity frustrates efforts to design good policies and programs to deal with the many problems. Disputes over terminology distract from the need for urgent action. This paper argues that our understanding of food insecurity is incremental: it develops as new research in a variety of food-deprived and nutrition-deprived contexts reveals causes, experiences and consequences and how they are interlinked. If we are to improve beneficiary selection, program targeting and intervention impact assessment, it is vital to coordinate our new understandings. The paper brings convergence to our understanding of food insecurity by introducing a new framework that visualizes levels of food insecurity, and the concomitant consequences and responses, as a continuum. Some potential benefits of using the continuum as a diagnostic tool are increased focus on less extreme but nevertheless urgent manifestations of food insecurity, more accurate targeting of interventions and better follow-up, and improved accountability for donor spending.



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