Table of Contents

Locator Record

Title: Food Security (FSQ )
Contact Number: 1-866-441-NCHS
Years of Content: 1999 - 2000
First Published: November, 2004
Revised: NA
Access Constraints: None
Use Constraints: None
Geographic Coverage: National
Subject:Food Security
Record Source: NHANES 1999 - 2000
Survey Methodology: NHANES 1999 - 2000 is a stratified multistage probability sample of the civilian non-institutionalized population of the U.S.
Medium: NHANES Web site; SAS transport files

Component Description

The Food Security section (FSQ) covers a variety of areas relating to lack of adequate food and receipt of food assistance in various forms. FSQ items were included in various parts of the NHANES survey, both in the household interview and in the Mobile Exam Center (MEC). These are listed and described separately.

USDA food adequacy indicator

The USDA food adequacy (sufficiency) indicator was administered to one adult in the household, even if it consisted of more than one family. This indicator has been included on numerous surveys, with a variety of answer choices. On NHANES, there were four answer choices:

  1. enough and kinds of food wanted,
  2. enough but not always kinds wanted,
  3. sometimes not enough,
  4. often not enough.

Interview setting: Home
Mode of administration: In-person
Eligible sample: All households. One adult responds.
Release level: All household members

U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module (FSSM)

The 18-item module, formerly known as the "Core food security module" was administered to one adult in a household, even if there was more than one family in the household. The questions referred to all household members, even if they were not individual participants in NHANES. The FSSM has been used on many other surveys, including the Current Population Survey (CPS), whose results are used to provide an estimate of the percent of US households that is food insecure and that experiences hunger.

Interview setting: Home
Mode of administration: In-person
Eligible sample: All households, but high income households were screened out of the questions. One adult responds.
Release level: All household members

Food program participation

NHANES included questions on receipt of benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), food stamp receipt, and reduced price or free school meals. Data on subsidized school meals are released with the Diet Behavior section (DBQ); WIC and food stamp data are in this FSQ release. Questions about WIC were asked at the household level and at the individual child and mother level.

WIC: Household received

Interview setting: Home
Mode of administration: In-person
Eligible sample: All households with a child 0-5 and/or a woman 12-59 years. One adult responds.
Release level: All household members

WIC: Child received

Interview setting: Home
Mode of administration: In-person
Eligible sample: Children 0-5 years old. Adult responds.
Release level: Individual child

WIC: Mother received

Interview setting: Mobile Exam Center
Mode of administration: In-person
Eligible sample: Women pregnant, lactating, or within 6 months of giving birth. Woman responds.
Release level: Individual woman

Food Stamps: How many in household authorized

Interview setting: Home
Mode of administration: In-person
Eligible sample: All households. One adult responds.
Release level: Each household member

Food Stamps: Individual authorized; how many months, currently authorized

Interview setting: Home
Mode of administration: In-person
Eligible sample: All household members. One adult responds.
Release level: Individual beneficiary

Eligible Sample

Refer above.

Data Processing and Editing

Data collection

Food Adequacy Indicator

The USDA food adequacy indicator (FSD.010) was asked during the family interview which is part of the interview that takes place in the home. The item had four answer choices, allowing for indication of adequacy (quality) as well as sufficiency (quantity). Although the standard follow-up questions asking about reasons for reported food insufficiency or inadequacy were also asked, these data are not released because of confidentiality concerns. Most households reporting "sometimes" or "often" not enough food said that the reason was "not enough money for food." The same USDA indicator and the follow-up questions were included in NHANES III, and versions have been used in many other surveys, including the Continuing Survey of Food Intake in Individuals (CSFII), administered by USDA. In NHANES this item was asked as part of what is termed the "family interview", but it actually refers to the entire household and is asked of one adult respondent, even if the household contains multiple families. All households received this item.

Food Security Survey Module (FSSM)

NHANES 1999-2000 contains the 18-item U.S. Food Security Survey Module (formerly known as the Core Module) which is used in numerous surveys, including the Current Population Survey (CPS) and is the basis for national level reports of food insecurity and hunger. This module was part of the family interview but was asked at the household level and answered by one adult respondent, even if there were multiple families in the household. Not all households screened into the FSSM. Screening into the module was based upon response to the USDA food adequacy indicator and/or income. Screens within the module itself were based on answers to prior questions. Screens were not always implemented consistently, because of computer programming errors and glitches as well as procedural changes. Data are released in four categories: Food secure, marginally food secure, food insecure without hunger, food insecure with hunger.

WIC

A question about receipt of any WIC benefits in the past 12 months was asked in the family interview. The question was asked about the entire household and was answered by one adult respondent, even if there were multiple families in the household. Questions about an individual child participant’s WIC benefits – past 12 months, current, and duration- were asked in the diet behavior section (DBQ) of the interview and were answered by an adult respondent. Children up to 5 years of age were eligible. Women who were pregnant, lactating, or within 6 months of birth were asked about WIC benefits in the MEC, as part of the Reproductive Health Section (RHQ). Household, child, and mother data on receipt of WIC benefits are released.

Food Stamps

Questions about authorization to receive food stamps were included in the FSQ section of the family interview and were answered by one adult respondent. The questions asked about authorization for anyone in the household, who in the household was authorized, how many months in the past 12 months the person was authorized, and whether the person was now authorized. Data are released on number of people in household authorized for food stamps, individual authorization, number of months received in past 12 months, and current authorization. Individual level data are not available for all participants.

Data Editing

Food Security Survey Module (FSSM)

When screening procedures and skips operated correctly, respondents with no prior affirmative responses and/or high income were skipped out of some subsequent questions. Responses to the subsequent questions were coded as negative.

Where data were missing for a specific item not resulting from a valid skip, results were imputed when possible, using the instructions for imputing given in the "Guide to Measuring Household Food Security, Revised 2000." Series of truly missing data could not be imputed and were left as missing.

Screening for entry into the Food Security Survey Module varied over the two years, using response to the USDA food adequacy indicator or reported income to screen out some households. Households screened out of questions were presumed to have responded negatively to all FSSM items.

Several of the internal screens in the FSSM did not always work correctly. Where possible, the data were edited to simulate these screens. Where this was not possible, data are missing.

FSSM responses were used to create three categorical measures of food security for households with children and two for households without children.

The household measure uses all 18 items (or 10 items for households without children) in a manner consistent with the CPS categorical measure, depicted on page 31 of the "Guide to Measuring Household Food Security, Revised 2000" (http://www.fns.usda.gov/fsec/FILES/FSGuide.pdf). The four categories created for household food security are: food secure, marginally food secure ("at risk" in the guide), food insecure without hunger, and food insecure with hunger (moderate and severe hunger have been combined into one category).

The adult measure uses 10 items to create four response categories. These categories are the same as those used for the household measure, but they utilize only the household and adult items and label names differ slightly. The adult measure is scored the same as the household scale for households with adults only (uses 10 items), whether or not there are children in the household. Thus, for adult-only households, the household and adult measures are identical.

It is further described in documentation on the Survey of Program Dynamics
http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/FoodSecurity/spd/spd98.pdf and http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/FoodSecurity/spd/spd01.pdf

The child measure categorization is based upon the ERS research report "Measuring Children’s Food Security in U.S. Households, 1995-99"
(http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/fanrr25/fanrr25.pdf), which uses the 8 child-referenced items to classify households into two categories (no or insufficient evidence of hunger; clear evidence of hunger). However, the NHANES data are grouped into four categories, for consistency with the household and adult measures. The first category in the ERS report is separated into three categories (food quantity and quality unaffected (0), marginally food secure (1), and food insecure without hunger 2-4). The most severe category is scored the same as that in the ERS report: but labeled "child food insecure with hunger (5-8)."

WIC

Responses to questions about the duration of receipt of WIC benefits for children (FSQ.655) were categorized into ≤ 6, 7-12, 13-18, 19-24, 25-30, 31-36, and ≥ 37 months. Durations that appeared to be mis-entered (e.g. in years rather than months) were edited. When children’s ages and length of WIC benefits were in different categories, the data were coded as missing. Because of a programming error, data were not collected on all 5 year old children, although they may have received WIC benefits in the past 12 months and thus WIC participation for 5 year olds should not be considered complete.

Food Stamps

Computer programming errors resulted in some missing data on how many months each person was authorized to receive food stamps, and whether the person was currently authorized. These data could not be imputed and remain missing. A household level variable was created containing the number of people in the household receiving food stamps. This can be used in conjunction with the variable for the total number of people in the household to calculate the percentage of household members receiving food stamps.

Analytic Notes

Notes on Data Collection, Data Release, and Data Analysis

The implementation of the Food Security Survey Module in NHANES was not always identical to its implementation in the CPS due to a programming error. For some participants, the items used for screening into the children’s questions (FSQ.110, 120, 140, 145) were the more severe adult questions (FSQ.070, 080, and 090) rather than the less severe ones used in the CPS (FSQ.030f, 040, 060, 070, 080). Thus, some participants who should have been asked these questions were not. No responses could be imputed for these items so these data are missing. Consequently, households that were fully food secure are over-represented in the sample with valid data at the household, adult, and child level and should not be used for prevalence estimates.

Some responses to a question about emergency food use were considered invalid. Interviewers reported that people misunderstood the phrase "eat in a community kitchen" to include eating at a community senior center or other type of community center, not one specifically for people without food, more commonly called a "soup kitchen." Analyses of the data confirmed numerous positive responses to the question by people who reported no food problems in earlier questions. Therefore, these data are not released.

When a screening procedure within the Food Security Survey Module did not work correctly, but data could be used to impute "presumed negative" responses, this was done. However data could not be generated for respondents who should have been asked a series of questions but weren’t. In these cases, the FSSM measures are coded as missing.

Categorical variables for household, adult, and child food security scales have been constructed and are released. Because of confidentiality concerns, data from the FSSM are not released as responses to specific items nor as scale values. Responses to questions about duration of receipt of WIC benefits for a mother for her last pregnancy and for a child sometimes exceeded the length allowed (pregnancy plus one year if lactating for a mother, 5 years for a child). Interviewers believe that mothers may not be able to distinguish well between their food and their child’s food, and that they sometimes receive food continuously because of consecutive pregnancies. Reasons for child errors may also be confusion of one child’s benefits with another’s, or mistaken entry. NCHS staff did not edit the length of use data for women but the data were categorized.

Errors occurred in the collection of details about food stamp receipt. Data are complete on receipt by 1) anyone in a household and 2) each individual household member, however follow-up details are not available for some individuals.

In data analysis and interpretation, it is important to take account of the level at which the data were collected and are released. Individual mother and child WIC data and individual level food stamp data are released on an individual participant’s record only. However, the household level WIC variable and food stamp variable, and the three food security scales (household, adult, and child) are all released on the record of every individual in the household. These variables do not necessarily reflect the status of any one individual unless that person is the only child, adult, or person in the household. Thus, it would not be appropriate to use the FSSM data, for example, to estimate the prevalence of children or adults experiencing hunger in the US. Further, because of some errors in the FSSM data collection and the relatively small sample size, the Current Population Survey (CPS) data are more appropriate for estimating the number of children or adults living in households that are classified as experiencing hunger. The NHANES data are best suited for analyses which examine household food security in relation to health and nutritional status. Similarly, the small sample size for food stamp data make them best suited for analyses of association rather than prevalence estimates.

Data Access

The five data files described in these notes are located on the NHANES website at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/nhanes1999-2000/nhanes99_00.htm

For instructions general information about this data release, as well as how to access the SAS transport files, refer to: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhanes/nhanes_99_00/general_data_release_doc.pdf

Additional general information about the release, including data analysis, is found at the following URL:
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/nhanes1999-2000/faqs99_00.htm

The NHANES Analytic guidelines give guidance on how to analyze data and sample programs. Check http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/nhanes2003-2004/analytical_guidelines.htm

Another SAS program sample is given at the following URL:
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhanes/examrgcd.txt

References

Codebook and Frequencies

SEQN - Respondent sequence number

Variable Name:
SEQN
SAS Label:
Respondent sequence number
English Text:
Respondent sequence number.
Target:
Both males and females 0 YEARS - 150 YEARS

FSD010 - Food adequacy indicator

Variable Name:
FSD010
SAS Label:
Food adequacy indicator
English Text:
The next questions are about the food eaten by {you/you and your household}. {When answering these questions, think about all the people who eat here, even if they are not related to you.} Which of these statements best describes the food eaten {by you/ in your household} in the last 12 months, that is since {DISPLAY CURRENT MONTH} of last year. 1. {I/We} always have enough to eat and the kinds of food {I/we} want; 2. {I/We} have enough to eat but not always the kinds of food {I/we} want; 3. Sometimes or often {I/we} don't have enough to eat.
English Instructions:
HAND CARD FSQ1. CAPI INSTRUCTION: CHECK SCREENER. DISPLAY: "WHEN ANSWERING . . . . " IF THERE ARE ADDITIONAL PERSONS IN HOUSEHOLD (I.E., PERSONS WHO ARE NOT MEMBERS OF NHANES FAMILY #1). DISPLAY "YOU" OR "BY YOU" IF ALL PERSONS IN HOUSEHOLD ARE IN NH ANES FAMILY #1. DISPLAY "YOU AND YOUR HOUSEHOLD" OR "IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD" IF ALL PERSONS IN THE HOUSEHOLD ARE NOT IN NHANES FAMILY #1.
Target:
Both males and females 0 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 Enough and the kinds of food wanted 7464 7464
2 Enough but not always the kinds of food wanted 1820 9284
3 Sometimes/Often not enough to eat 490 9774
7 Refused 18 9792
9 Don't know 4 9796
. Missing 169 9965

FSD160 - Household WIC received

Variable Name:
FSD160
SAS Label:
Household WIC received
English Text:
[In the last 12 months], did {you/you or any member of your household} receive benefits from the WIC program, that is, the Women, Infants and Children program?
Target:
Both males and females 0 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 Yes 1936 1936
2 No 7829 9765
7 Refused 19 9784
9 Don't know 12 9796
. Missing 169 9965

FSD170N - No. people in HH authorized for fd stmps

Variable Name:
FSD170N
SAS Label:
No. people in HH authorized for fd stmps
English Text:
[In the last 12 months], how many people in your household were authorized to receive Food Stamps?
English Instructions:
ENTER NUMBER OF PEOPLE.
Target:
Both males and females 0 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Hard Edits:
1 to 30
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 to 6 Range of Values 1443 1443
7 7 or more 49 1492
77 Refused 0 1492
99 Don't know 12 1504
. Missing 8461 9965

FSD180 - Authorized for fd stmps in last 12 mos

Variable Name:
FSD180
SAS Label:
Authorized for fd stmps in last 12 mos
English Text:
In the last 12 months, {were you/was SP} authorized to receive Food Stamps?
Target:
Both males and females 0 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 Yes 697 697
2 No 799 1496 FSD655
7 Refused 0 1496 FSD655
9 Don't know 8 1504 FSD655
. Missing 8461 9965

FSD190 - No. mos authorized in last 12 mos

Variable Name:
FSD190
SAS Label:
No. mos authorized in last 12 mos
English Text:
ENTER NUMBER OF MONTHS.
Target:
Both males and females 0 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Hard Edits:
1 to 12
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 to 12 Range of Values 547 547
77 Refused 0 547
99 Don't know 3 550
. Missing 9415 9965

FSD200 - Currently authorized for fd stmps

Variable Name:
FSD200
SAS Label:
Currently authorized for fd stmps
English Text:
{Are you/Is SP} now authorized to receive Food Stamps?
Target:
Both males and females 0 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 Yes 473 473
2 No 75 548
7 Refused 0 548
9 Don't know 2 550
. Missing 9415 9965

FSD655 - Child received WIC in past 12 months

Variable Name:
FSD655
SAS Label:
Child received WIC in past 12 months
English Text:
Did (child's name) receive benefits from WIC in the past 12 months?
Target:
Both males and females 0 YEARS - 4 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 Yes 779 779
2 No 582 1361 HHfdsec
7 Refused 0 1361 HHfdsec
9 Don't know 4 1365 HHfdsec
. Missing 8600 9965

FSD660C - Child currently receives WIC

Variable Name:
FSD660C
SAS Label:
Child currently receives WIC
English Text:
Is (child's name) now receiving benefits from the WIC Program?
Target:
Both males and females 0 YEARS - 4 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 Yes 649 649
2 No 130 779
7 Refused 0 779
9 Don't know 0 779
. Missing 9186 9965

FSD665 - How long child receiving WIC?

Variable Name:
FSD665
SAS Label:
How long child receiving WIC?
English Text:
How long did {(child's name) receive/ has (child's name) been receiving} benefits from the WIC program?
Target:
Both males and females 0 YEARS - 4 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 0-6 months 190 190
2 7-12 months 132 322
3 13-18 months 79 401
4 19-24 months 81 482
5 25-36 months 112 594
6 37-60 months 171 765
. Missing 9200 9965

FSQ650 - Mom received WIC in past 12 months

Variable Name:
FSQ650
SAS Label:
Mom received WIC in past 12 months
English Text:
Did {you/(woman's name)} personally receive benefits from WIC, that is, the Women, Infants, and Children Program, in the past 12 months?
Target:
Females only 12 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 Yes 245 245
2 No 186 431 HHfdsec
7 Refused 0 431 HHfdsec
9 Don't know 0 431 HHfdsec
. Missing 9534 9965

FSD660M - Mom currently receives WIC

Variable Name:
FSD660M
SAS Label:
Mom currently receives WIC
English Text:
{Are you/Is (woman's name)} now receiving benefits from the WIC Program?
Target:
Females only 12 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 Yes 214 214
2 No 30 244
7 Refused 0 244
9 Don't know 0 244
. Missing 9721 9965

FSD670 - How long mom receiving WIC?

Variable Name:
FSD670
SAS Label:
How long mom receiving WIC?
English Text:
How long {did (woman's name) receive/has (woman's name) been receiving} benefits from the WIC program?
Target:
Females only 12 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 0-6 months 112 112
2 7-12 months 67 179
3 > 12 months 64 243
. Missing 9722 9965

HHfdsec - Household food security category

Variable Name:
HHfdsec
SAS Label:
Household food security category
English Text:
Household food security category for last 12 months
Target:
Both males and females 0 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 HH fully food secure 7102 7102
2 HH marginally food secure 889 7991
3 HH food insecure without hunger 1209 9200
4 HH food insecure with hunger 499 9699
. Missing 266 9965

ADfdsec - Adult food security category

Variable Name:
ADfdsec
SAS Label:
Adult food security category
English Text:
Adult food security category for last 12 months
Target:
Both males and females 0 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 AD fully food secure: 0 7174 7174
2 AD marginally food secure: 1-2 1024 8198
3 AD food insecure without hunger: 3-5 1006 9204
4 AD food insecure with hunger: 6-10 495 9699
. Missing 266 9965

CHfdsec - Child food security category

Variable Name:
CHfdsec
SAS Label:
Child food security category
English Text:
Child food security category for last 12 months
Target:
Both males and females 0 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 CH food quality & quantity unaffected: 0 5293 5293
2 CH marginally food secure: 1 441 5734
3 CH reduced food quality or quantity: 2-4 866 6600
4 CH food insecure with hunger: 5-8 105 6705
. Missing 3260 9965