Measuring Food Security in Canadian Homeless Adult Men

Measuring Food Security in Canadian Homeless Adult Men

Purpose: To assess whether the current food security measurement tool used in Canada, the Canadian Community Health Survey, is appropriate for use with homeless adults.

Methods: The Household Food Security Survey Module (HFSSM), a validated measurement tool utilized for determining the food security status of Canadian households, was used with a group of homeless men (n = 40). In-depth interviews were also conducted with participants to obtain particulars about their food acquisition strategies. Data were analyzed by comparing the results of the HFSSM with qualitative data.

Results: The HFSSM measurement tool found that 90% (n = 36) of the study participants experienced food insecurity with 67.5% (n = 27) experiencing severe food insecurity and 22.5% (n = 9) experiencing moderate food insecurity. The qualitative data, however, suggested that all participants (n = 40) were food insecure based on food acquisition practices, food accessibility, and diet quality.

Conclusions: The HFSSM has validity concerns when applied to homeless populations. Nutrition professionals and other key stakeholders should work to develop valid tools for measuring the food security status of homeless individuals who are highly vulnerable to food insecurity.

JOURNAL: Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research