Hunger and Food Insecurity in Nairobi’s Slums: An Assessment Using IRT Models

Journal of Urban Health, Vol. 88, No. 2, pp. 235 - 255, 2011

21 Pages Posted: 20 May 2011 Last revised: 17 Jan 2014

See all articles by Ousmane Faye

Ousmane Faye

CEPS/INSTEAD

Angela Baschieri

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine - Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health; University of Southampton - Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute (S3RI)

Jane Falkingham

University of Southampton - Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute (S3RI)

Kanyiva Muindi

African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)

Date Written: January 14, 2011

Abstract

Although linked to poverty as conditions reflecting inadequate access to resources to obtain food, issues such as hunger and food insecurity have seldom been recognized as important in urban settings. Overall, little is known about the prevalence and magnitude of hunger and food insecurity in most cities. Yet, in sub-Saharan Africa where the majority of urban dwellers live on less than one dollar a day, it is obvious that a large proportion of the urban population must be satisfied with just one meal a day. This paper suggests using the one- and two-parameter item response theory models to infer a reliable and valid measure of hunger and food insecurity relevant to low-income urban settings, drawing evidence from the Nairobi Urban Health and demographic Surveillance System. The reliability and accuracy of the items are tested using both the Mokken scale analysis and the Cronbach test. The validity of the inferred household food insecurity measure is assessed by examining how it is associated with households’ economic status. Results show that food insecurity is pervasive amongst slum dwellers in Nairobi. Only one household in five is food-secure, and nearly half of all households are categorized as “food-insecure with both adult and child hunger.” Moreover, in line with what is known about household allocation of resources, evidence indicates that parents often forego food in order to prioritize their children.

Keywords: Food insecurity, Hunger, Sub-Saharan Africa, Slum, Nairobi

JEL Classification: C43, I12, I31, I32, O18, O55

Suggested Citation

Faye, Ousmane and Baschieri, Angela and Falkingham, Jane and Muindi, Kanyiva, Hunger and Food Insecurity in Nairobi’s Slums: An Assessment Using IRT Models (January 14, 2011). Journal of Urban Health, Vol. 88, No. 2, pp. 235 - 255, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1838692

Ousmane Faye (Contact Author)

CEPS/INSTEAD ( email )

3, Avenue de la Fonte
Esch-sur-Alzette, L-4364
Luxembourg
00352585855 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ceps.lu

Angela Baschieri

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine - Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health ( email )

London, WC1E 7HT
United Kingdom

University of Southampton - Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute (S3RI) ( email )

Southampton SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

Jane Falkingham

University of Southampton - Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute (S3RI) ( email )

Southampton SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

Kanyiva Muindi

African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) ( email )

P.O. Box 10787
Nairobi, 00100
Kenya

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