Journal of Food Security

ISSN (Print): 2372-0115

ISSN (Online): 2372-0107


Current Issue» Volume 3, Number 2 (2015)


Coping Strategies Adopted by Urban Poor to Ameliorate Food Insecurity: Case of United States, Belize and India

1Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA

2Department of Food and Nutrition, Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi, Delhi, India

Journal of Food Security. 2015, 3(2), 40-46
DOI: 10.12691/jfs-3-2-2
Copyright © 2015 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Lauri Wright, Palak Gupta. Coping Strategies Adopted by Urban Poor to Ameliorate Food Insecurity: Case of United States, Belize and India. Journal of Food Security. 2015; 3(2):40-46. doi: 10.12691/jfs-3-2-2.

Correspondence to: Lauri  Wright, Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA. Email:


Present research was conducted to understand the coping strategies adopted by urban poor in three-countries: The United States (US), Belize and India. Additionally, the coping strategies were classified into those common to the three countries and those which were unique to a particular country as well. Research was cross-sectional based on convenience sampling of families receiving care at selected health centers and clinics. Total sample size was 219 (US, n=53, Belize, n=61; Indian=105). A semi-structured interview was used to collect data on household food security, coping mechanisms, health status and demography. Additionally, the participants were measured for weight. Standard univariate analysis was conducted using SPSS (version-16).The US had highest prevalence of food insecure families (83%), followed by Belize (62.3%), and India (57.1%). A total of 146 food insecure respondents were interviewed on coping strategies. Common coping strategies adopted by households from all three countries included relying on low-cost cheap foods/seasonal foods, decreasing portion size or number of meals consumed in a day, relying on help from relatives, neighbors and friends during food scarcity, use of resources or savings, pawning, use of government programs, migration of one or more family member, and buying foods on discounts. Strategies unique to a specific country, included praying/ believing in God for help, having back gardens, relying on soup kitchens or religious institutions for food distribution, purchasing food on credit from local grocery shops, starting part-time work to supplement regular employment, freezing food to be consumed during need, and bulk purchase of food items. In conclusion, people were found to adopt coping strategies as an expression of negotiated decisions to minimize the impact of food insecurity. The strategies which are common could be used as foundation to develop interventions to alleviate hunger. Positive, unique strategies could be used to develop interventions which are culturally appropriate, wherever possible.



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Food Security and Nutritional Status of Children Residing in Sugarcane Growing Communities of East-Central Uganda: A Cross-sectional Study

1Makerere University School of Public Health-Centers for Disease Control (MakSPH-CDC) Fellowship Program, Kampala Uganda

2Makerere University School of Public Health, Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health, Kampala Uganda

3Makerere University School of Public Health, Department of Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Kampala Uganda

Journal of Food Security. 2015, 3(2), 34-39
DOI: 10.12691/jfs-3-2-1
Copyright © 2015 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Francis Lwanga, Rhoda K. Wanyenze, Joseph KB Matovu, Christopher Garimoi Orach. Food Security and Nutritional Status of Children Residing in Sugarcane Growing Communities of East-Central Uganda: A Cross-sectional Study. Journal of Food Security. 2015; 3(2):34-39. doi: 10.12691/jfs-3-2-1.

Correspondence to: Francis  Lwanga, Makerere University School of Public Health-Centers for Disease Control (MakSPH-CDC) Fellowship Program, Kampala Uganda. Email:


Undernourishment is a major public health issue in several developing countries including Uganda. Sugarcane farming practiced in several districts of the East-central Uganda is reported to be threatening food and nutrition security. We assessed household food and nutrition security in order to inform nutrition policy and program design for communities engaged in cash crop production. We conducted a cross-sectional study in Jinja district east-central Uganda. All households with children aged below five years in Nabitambala parish Busede sub-county were investigated. A total of 646 children from 382 households were studied. Food security data were collected using the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale. Nutritional status of the children was assessed using Height-for-Age, Weight-for-Age and Weight-for-Height to measure stunting, underweight and wasting respectively. Standard deviation (SD) scores (Z-scores) were applied to determine nutritional status. Statistical analysis was done using STATA statistical software package. The prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting was 33.3%, 27.4% and 18% respectively. Of the 382 households studied 12% were food secure while 14.7%, 23.6% and 49.7% had mild, moderate and severe food insecurity respectively. Of the 95 households with wasted underweight and stunted children, the majority (85.3%, 88.3% and 91%), were food insecure respectively. The percentage of households with children who were malnourished significantly increased with increase in the number of children in the households. There is high prevalence of malnutrition and household food insecurity in the sugarcane growing communities of east-central Uganda. Short and long term measures are required to mitigate food insecurity and malnutrition in these settings especially in households with many children.



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