Food Security Atlas Of RURAL MAHARASHTRA - WFP Remote ...

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Food Security Atlas Of RURAL MAHARASHTRA - WFP Remote ...

3. Analysis of Food Security3. Analysis of Food SecurityFood security is the condition of sufficient nutrition, which is due to a combination of food access ofthe household and the individual, and of the ability of the body to absorb nutrients. In more detail,food security of an individual is the result of:1. Food availability, which refers to the quantity of food available, whether through own productionor from the market and government programmes. In India food availability is usually measuredwith respect to foodgrains, which are the chief source of energy particularly of the poor.2. The food accussed by the household through own production, market purchase and governmententitlments and distributed among household members on the basis of various social norms andbargaining positions, including gender relations among the household members.3. The food consumed by an individual translated into nutrition on the basis of access to safe water,the absence of parasitic diseases, and the overall health status, all of which would affect thebody’s capacity to absorb consumed food.3.1 Measuring Food Security StatusGiven this definition of food security, how can its attainment be measured? Food security is acombination of access to food and its absorption by the body, which depends on a number offactors such as sanitation, access to clean drinking water, access to health facilities, and so on. Theoutcome of food security can be taken to be the nutritional status of the individual, with theunderstanding that food intake is the basic, though not the only factor that affects nutritional status.In developing countries, the rural population, particularly children, are vulnerable to malnutritionbecause of low dietary intake, poor quality of diet lack of appropriate care and inequitable distributionof food within the household. The measurement of the nutritional status of children is done throughanthropometric methods; these include weight-for-age, height-for-age and weight-for-height. Eachof these indices provides somewhat different information about the nutritional status of children. Theheight-for-age index measures linear growth retardation. Children who are more than two standarddeviations below the median of the reference population in terms of height-for-age are consideredshort for their age or ‘stunted’. The proportion in this category indicates the prevalence of ‘chronicunder-nutrition’, which often results from a failure to receive adequate nutrition over a long period oftime or from chronic or recurrent diarrhoea (NFHS, 2007).The weight-for-height index examines body mass in relation to body length. Children who are morethan two standard deviations below the median of the reference population for the same index areconsidered too thin or ‘wasted’ and this indicates prevalence of acute under-nutrition. Wasting isassociated with the failure to receive adequate nutrition in the period immediately before the surveyand may be the result of seasonal variations in food supply or recent episodes of illness(NFHS, op cit).20 FOOD SECURITY ATLAS OF RURAL MAHARASHTRA

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