Household food security and dietary diversity in south‐eastern Nigeria

Ukonu, Ijeoma Chinyere orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-4727-2225, Wallace, Carol Anne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1402-2134 and Lowe, Nicola M orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6934-2768 (2023) Household food security and dietary diversity in south‐eastern Nigeria. Maternal & Child Nutrition . ISSN 1740-8695

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The aim of this study was to investigate household food security (access) level and the dietary diversity of households in the Nsukka Local Government Area in South‐eastern Nigeria. From 20 local communities of Nsukka, 390 women were randomly sampled from the women's group and asked to complete a survey that determined the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale scores and the Household Dietary Diversity Scores (HDDS). The descriptive results indicated a high level of food insecurity with 82.6% households reporting various degrees of food insecurity. Over half of the sampled population experienced insufficient food quality. They either ate unwanted food (65.9%), limited variety (63.1%), or unpreferred food (64.6%). Some households experienced insufficient food intake by going a whole day without food (38.2%), go to sleep hungry (45.1%), or have no food of any kind (49%). The analysis of variance showed no significant difference (p = 0.428) in the food security level of households headed by males as compared with those headed by females. Approximately 53.6% of households fell at or below the average HDDS; males headed 48% of these households, while females headed 64%. The chi‐square test indicated factors associated with household food security including age, education, work status and income, whereas the gender of the household head, household size and marital status were not significantly associated. Public–private partnerships, nutrition orientation and food intervention programs could improve food security in this area.

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