Special Report

Review of methods used in food security assessment to measure food consumption and estimate energy intake of households or individuals

August 2015

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Summary

Energy intake is typically measured in individuals or households by surveying respondents about food consumption over a specified period. The gold standard of dietary assessment methods is direct observation of individuals or household members and weighing of all foods consumed, but this method is time-consuming and labor intensive.

Two types of food consumption surveys that can be used to calculate energy intake for food security assessment are: 1) household consumption and expenditure surveys and 2) 24-hour dietary recall surveys. Household consumption and expenditure surveys are typically conducted routinely by governments for economic assessments. 24-hour dietary recall surveys are usually used in nutrition surveillance to collect individual-level data on a subset or all members of the household, but are not typically conducted routinely in low-income countries.

Both methods rely on respondents to self-report their food consumption and so share similar types of respondent bias such as memory and estimations of quantity. This review discusses issues that have been identified with both survey types and the degree of accuracy to which the surveys estimate actual energy intake of the respondents.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics