A Comparative study of coping strategies used by food secure and food insecure households
Grobler, Wynand C.J.
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Food security has become a priority in many developing countries and is considered a fundamental human right. Food security can be defined as "when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life". The recent focus on food insecurity shifted to access, vulnerability and sustainability of food in an urban context. In this context, the use of coping strategies to overcome food insecurity can be seen as a measure of food insecurity and the associated vulnerability towards food insecurity. The question that arises is: To what extent does the coping strategies used by food secure households differ from the coping strategies used by food insecure households? A quantitative research method was employed whereby a stratified random sample of 600 households was taken from two low-income areas in South Africa. The Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) was used to determine the food security status of households and the Coping Strategies Index (CSI) was used to determine the coping strategies used by the food secure and food insecure households. Different statistical techniques were used to compare the food secure and food insecure households with regard to coping strategies used. The study found that the use of coping strategies increases as households move from food secure to severely food insecure. The study indicated that there should be policies that deal with the vulnerability of certain groups.