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Food and Nutrition

The Household Food Security Survey Module (HFSSM)

The Household Food Security Survey Module (HFSSM) was adapted from the food security measurement method developed in the United States. This measurement method has been used to monitor household food security in the U.S. annually since 1995.

What does the HFSSM measure?

The HFSSM focuses on self-reports of uncertain, insufficient or inadequate food access, availability and utilization due to limited financial resources, and the compromised eating patterns and food consumption that may result.

The HFSSM is not designed to capture other possible reasons for compromised food consumption, such as voluntary dieting or fasting. The HFSSM is a household measure, that is, it assesses the food security situation of adults as a group and children as a group within a household, but does not determine the food security status of each individual member residing in the household. It cannot be assumed that all members of a household share the same food security status.

The HFSSM contains 18 questions about the food security situation in the household over the previous 12 months. Each question specifies a lack of money or the ability to afford food as the reason for the condition or behaviour. The questions range in severity from worrying about running out of food, to children not eating for a whole day.

Ten of the 18 questions are specific to the experiences of adults in the household or the household in general (Adult Scale), while eight are specific to the experiences of children under the age of 18 years in the household (Child Scale).