Full Text

Food Insecurity

Christopher B. Barrett and Erin C. Lentz

Subject International Studies » Global Development Studies

Key-Topics aid, human security, hunger, poverty

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444336597.2010.x


Comment on this article   Food security is inherently unobservable and difficult to define, but both intrinsically and instrumentally important. Humans have a physiological need for the nutrients supplied by food. Food is therefore a crucial input into performance and well-being. Many development programs, projects, and policies therefore include food security objectives. But food is also a source of pleasure apart from its physiological necessity. Since both biological needs for food and psychic satisfaction from food vary markedly among and within populations, it is difficult to pin down precise, operationalizable measures of food security. Moreover, the concept of food security encompasses more than current nutritional status, capturing as well vulnerability to future disruptions in one's access to adequate and appropriate food ( Barrett 2002 ). This forward-looking, uncertainty-based dimension of food security adds further complexity to the concept. This complexity has given rise to scores, if not hundreds, of different definitions of the term “food security.” Definitions have evolved with thinking about the proximate manifestations and direct and indirect causes and consequences of “food insecurity,” the complement to “food security.” But there remains much variation and imprecision in these terms as used in practice. The current prevailing definition of food security, agreed ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top