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Article

Coping with Household Food Insecurity: Perspectives of Mothers in Anambra State, Nigeria

1Department of Community Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Nigeria

2Department of Community Medicine and Primary Health Care, College of Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria


Journal of Food Security. 2015, Vol. 3 No. 6, 145-154
DOI: 10.12691/jfs-3-6-2
Copyright © 2016 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Nkiru Nwamaka Ezeama, Christian Ibeh, Echendu Adinma, Obiageli Emelumadu, Prosper Adogu. Coping with Household Food Insecurity: Perspectives of Mothers in Anambra State, Nigeria. Journal of Food Security. 2015; 3(6):145-154. doi: 10.12691/jfs-3-6-2.

Correspondence to: Nkiru  Nwamaka Ezeama, Department of Community Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Nigeria. Email: nkiru.ezeama@live.co.uk

Abstract

Household food security has been identified as an important determinant of an individual’s nutritional status. Households are food insecure when the food available to them is limited or uncertain or when there is limited or uncertain ability to acquire suitable food in ways that are socially acceptable. In the event of food shortage, households tend to employ coping strategies to minimize its impact and maintain adequate food access. This was a qualitative study aimed at exploring the coping practices of mothers in Anambra State when faced with household food and financial shortage. It is part of a mixed methods comparative study on household food security as a determinant of the nutritional status of under-five children in the study area. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews of mothers from three communities in Anambra State, Nigeria were conducted and thematic content analysis was carried out on data obtained. Several coping strategies were practiced by the participants including maternal buffering, reduction in the number of meals in a day and limiting portion sizes. Other common themes that emerged include differences in intra-household food distribution and gender-power relations as well as solutions to household food insecurity. Study participants expressed the desire for food assistance schemes and empowerment from the government and their communities in form of micro-credit loans, vocational training and jobs.

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