Background and Objectives: Food insecurity and hunger not only affect physical health, but also have social and psychological consequences. Therefore, monitoring food security and fighting against food insecurity and hunger is necessary in a society. This study was carried out to investigate the determinants of food insecurity in northwest of Tabriz (Asadabadi region).
Methods: This cross sectional study was conducted on 300 subjects in 2004-2005. The prevalence of food insecurity was assessed using a short questionnaire. Information regarding the socio-economic and cultural status of the subjects was collected through a questionnaire. In order to assess the status of food security on the basis of income, occupation, education level and family size, distribution of secure and insecure groups was individually determined, and then Chi-Square test was used to test the significance of the relationship between these groups. Nutritional status was assessed using food frequency questionnaire. Food groups that had significant correlation with income (relationship between groups and subgroups of foods with income was determined using Pearson correlation coefficient) were selected as a criterion for comparing secure and insecure groups. Mean frequency of criteria foods consumption in two groups was compared using independent-sample t-test.
Results: The prevalence of food insecurity was 36.3%. Food insecurity increased with family size and declined with income, education and job status of the head of the family (p<0.01). The results of food frequency showed that the mean frequency of bread and potato consumption in food insecure group was meaning fully higher compared to food secure group. Mean frequency consumption of rice, vegetable, fruit, red meat and dairy products in food insecure group was significantly lower compared to food secure group (p<0.001).
Conclusion: The results of this study confirmed the impact of socio-economic and cultural status of the families on food security. It also indicated that nutritional problems are prevalent in society. Therefore, it is necessary to give practical solutions to fight against food insecurity as a major problem in society.