Self Reported Vulnerability to Food Insecurity in a South African Low Income Neigbourhood
Grobler, Wynand C.J.
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Food security is defined as a state in which all people in a household at all times have both physical and economic access to sufficient food to meet their dietary needs for a productive and healthy life. Household food insecurity has been associated in the last decade with several negative health and nutrition outcomes, and South Africa in this regard was no exception. The question however arises: To what extent are low income households vulnerable to food insecurity? This study analysed food security status of households, and analyse the self- reported vulnerability with regard to food security of these households. A quantitative research method was deployed and a stratified random sample of 295 questionnaires was administered in the township of Bophelong, a low income neighbourhood in Southern Gauteng, South Africa. Following the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale, households were asked to describe behaviors and attitudes that relate to food insecurity, also called domains of the food insecurity experience. The study showed a high incidence of vulnerability towards food insecurity amongst households in this low income neighborhood. Research indicated that urban food insecurity is a considerable challenge and that food insecure urban households may be more vulnerable to deeper food insecurity than their rural counterparts. This indicates that the drivers and maybe consequences of food insecurity in urban areas may require different conceptual framings and policy responses from policy makers. This paper therefore suggests the development of an explicitly urban food policy, to lower the vulnerability of food insecure households in urban settings.