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Measuring Food Insecurity Using the Food Abundance Index: Implications for Economic, Health and Social Well-Being

Murrell, Audrey and Jones, Ray (2020) Measuring Food Insecurity Using the Food Abundance Index: Implications for Economic, Health and Social Well-Being. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17 (7). p. 2434. ISSN 1660-4601

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High levels of food insecurity signal the presence of disparities and inequities in local food access, which have been shown to negatively impact the health and well-being of individuals and communities. However, the approaches used to define and measure high food insecurity, also known as a “food desert”, vary widely across research study and intervention methodology. This paper describes the development and validation of a measurement tool called the “Food Abundance Index” (FAI) which is a scorecard for assessing levels of food insecurity across five key dimensions: access, diversity, quality, density, and affordability. A pilot study was conducted to examine levels of food insecurity in order to test the extent to which the FAI can detect food deserts. Nine neighborhoods were selected based on the demographic characteristics of communities shown to be related to food insecurity. Our findings provide evidence that the Food Abundance Index provides a robust measurement tool to assess the extent of food insecurity within a community or neighborhood. Thus, this multidimensional scorecard can be used in future research to detect levels of food insecurity within urban areas and help to bridge the gap between academics, policymakers and practitioners in this important area.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Murrell, AudreyAMURRELL@pitt.eduAMURRELL0000-0001-5626-2454
Jones, Rayrayjones@katz.pitt.edurayjones
Date: 3 April 2020
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume: 17
Number: 7
Publisher: MDPI AG
Page Range: p. 2434
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.3390/ijerph17072434
Schools and Programs: Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business > Business Administration
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: food insecurity, food policy, sustainable food systems, social responsibility, social inequalities, health outcomes
ISSN: 1660-4601
Official URL:
Funders: University of Pittsburgh, David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2022 14:05
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2022 14:05


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