Household food insecurity, diet, and weight status in a disadvantaged district of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: a cross-sectional study Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, economic and socially acceptable access to safe, sufficient, and adequately nutritious food in order to meet their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. For high income countries and those experiencing the nutrition transition, food security is not only about the quantity of available food but also the nutritional quality as related to over- and under-nutrition. Vietnam is currently undergoing this nutrition transition, and as a result the relationship between food insecurity, socio-demographic factors and weight status is complex. The primary objective of this study was to therefore measure the prevalence of household food insecurity in a disadvantaged urban district in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in Vietnam using a more comprehensive tool. This study also aims to examine the relationships between food insecurity and socio-demographic factors, weight status, and food intakes.A cross-sectional study was conducted using multi-stage sampling. Adults who were mainly responsible for cooking were interviewed in 250 households. Data was collected on socioeconomic and demographic factors using previously validated tools. Food security was assessed using the Latin American and Caribbean Household Food Security Scale (ELCSA) tool and households were categorized as food secure or mildly, moderately or severely food insecure. Questions regarding food intake were based on routinely used and validated questions in HCMC, weight status was self-reported.Cronbach's alpha coefficient was 0.87, showing the ELCSA had a good internal reliability. Approximately 34.4% of households were food insecure. Food insecurity was inversely related to total household income (OR = 0.09, 95% CI = 0.04 - 0.22) and fruit intakes (OR = 2.2, 95% CI 1.31 - 4.22). There was no association between weight and food security status.Despite rapid industrialization and modernization, food insecurity remains an important public health issue in large urban areas of HCMC, suggesting that strategies to address food insecurity should be implemented in urban settings, and not just rural locations. Fruit consumption among food insecure households may be compromised because of financial difficulties, which may lead to poorer health outcomes particularly related to non-communicable disease prevention and management.

publication date

  • 2015