Max Rady College of Medicine

Term: Food Insecurity - (CCHS Survey Data)

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Glossary Definition

Last Updated: 2011-10-24


The inability to have access to an adequate supply of food or the fear that one may soon have an inadequate food supply. It can arise due to poverty or natural or man-made disasters. Individuals do not have to be starving to be food insecure, simply living with hunger or the fear that you may have to go hungry would classify someone as food insecure.

In the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), household food security status is a derived variable that indicates whether a participant feels that all members of their household have access to an adequate supply of food or not, both currently and in the future. Participants were asked a variety of questions about their food security status, such as, "In the past 12 months, did you or other adults in your household ever cut the size of your meals or skip meals because there wasn't enough money for food?" Participants were categorized as food secure, food insecure without hunger, food insecure with moderate hunger, food insecure with extreme hunger, or not stated. In Fransoo et al. (2011), participants were grouped as either food insecure (including "food insecure without hunger", "food insecure with moderate hunger", "food insecure with extreme hunger") or food secure.


  • Fransoo R, Martens P, Prior H, Chateau D, McDougall C, Schultz J, McGowan K, Soodeen R, Bailly A. Adult Obesity in Manitoba: Prevalence, Associations, and Outcomes. Winnipeg, MB: Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, 2011. [Report] [Summary] (View)

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