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Title:Hungry for information: using mixed methods to understand patterns of food utilization in the Honduran hillsides
Author(s):Sloffer, Elizabeth Marie
Director of Research:Andrade, Juan E
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Engeseth, Nicki J
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Buckley, Cynthia J; Pepino, M. Yanina
Department / Program:Food Science & Human Nutrition
Discipline:Food Science & Human Nutrition
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
food insecurity
social network
food utilization
Abstract:Food utilization is an increasingly essential yet poorly assessed dimension of food security. Utilization concerns food choice, preparation, storage, allocation, consumption, and metabolism by the body. As such, farm, distribution, retail, cultural, and household factors all influence effective food utilization. The existing methodology for assessing food utilization include anthropometry and micronutrient assay as well as access to food, clean water, and adequate sanitation. This set of methodology does not adequately assess or define the appropriate standards for the aspects of food utilization listed above. In this study, we aimed to construct the role of family food utilizer in the context of the Feed the Future Horticulture Innovation Lab Regional Center at Zamorano University in Honduras. Drawing on the existing methodology for assessing food security, we employed the Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index, The Coping Strategies Index, The Household Dietary Diversity Score, The Household Hunger Scale, and a modified Housing Quality Index. We used dietary diversity data to reconstruct the Minimum Dietary Diversity Score and Minimum Acceptable Diet In addition to these commonly-used indicators, we completed a reliance social network study to understand how participants in the Horticulture Lab program obtained information and assistance for agriculture and food-related challenges. Data from semi-structured interviews with agricultural extension agents and program participants informed both parts of this study. Participants experienced high levels of food insecurity. Associations between indicators of empowerment and food security measurements showed that control over assets like poultry, making more income decisions, and working longer hours were associated with positive outcomes including consumption of nutritionally significant foods such as dairy products and staving off the most severe food insecurity. The social network study showed that men's information and reliance networks were more highly educated and resulted in better access to assistance than women's networks. Both of these studies showed that women and men experience and manage food insecurity differently and that it is likely that men are more able to reap the benefits of intervention programs.
Issue Date:2020-12-04
Rights Information:2020 by Elizabeth Marie Sloffer. All rights reserved.
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-03-05
Date Deposited:2020-12

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