Journal of Food Security
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Journal of Food Security. 2015, 3(2), 62-68
DOI: 10.12691/jfs-3-2-4
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Characteristics of Social Vulnerability and Food Insecurity among Urban Families in Extreme Poverty in Brazil

Daniela Sanches Frozi1, , Rosely Sichieri2, Sandra Maria Chaves dos Santos3 and Rosangela Alves Pereira1

1Department of Applied and Social Nutrition, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Full Member of the National Council for Food and Nutritional Security, Brasilia, DF, Brazil

2Department of Epidemiology, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

3School of Nutrition, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil

Pub. Date: August 11, 2015

Cite this paper:
Daniela Sanches Frozi, Rosely Sichieri, Sandra Maria Chaves dos Santos and Rosangela Alves Pereira. Characteristics of Social Vulnerability and Food Insecurity among Urban Families in Extreme Poverty in Brazil. Journal of Food Security. 2015; 3(2):62-68. doi: 10.12691/jfs-3-2-4


This study aimed to characterize food insecurity and strategies to cope with food scarcity in 1,085 families evaluated in a cross-sectional population-based study conducted in a low-income neighborhood of the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, Brazil. Data were collected in personal interviews applying a structured survey which included a food frequency questionnaire and the Brazilian Food Insecurity Scale. Families were classified as “extremely poor”, if per capita family income was under US$1.00 per day or, otherwise, as “out of extreme poverty”. “Extremely poor” families were also stratified as beneficiaries or not of cash transfer programs which were later consolidated within the Programa Bolsa Família. Overall, the studied families lived under critical sanitary conditions. Families in extreme poverty presented worse conditions of household sanitation, food insecurity and reported poorer food quality, less frequent consumption of fruit and vegetables, and increased use of practices and strategies to alleviate food shortages than families free of extreme poverty. The prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity among “out of extreme poverty” families was at least five times lower than that observed in families living under extreme poverty (p<0.01). Extremely poor family heads were mostly young, female, black or mixed, or low educated individuals, characteristics which regularly coincide with social vulnerability.

cash transfer program family head sanitary conditions socioeconomic conditions extreme poverty

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