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Open Access Relationship of household food insecurity to neonatal, infant, and under-five child mortality among families in rural Indonesia

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Background. Food insecurity is common in developing countries and is related to the physical well-being of families. Household food insecurity is intended to reflect a household's access, availability, and utilization of food, but its relationship with child mortality has not been well characterized.

Objective. To examine the relationship of a modified household food insecurity score with a history of neonatal, infant, and under-five child mortality.

Methods. In a cross-sectional study of 26,339 rural households in the Indonesian Nutrition Surveillance System, 2000–03, household food insecurity was measured with the use of a modified nine-item food security questionnaire. A simple food insecurity score of 0 to 9 was calculated based on responses and related to mortality history in the family.

Results. The proportion of households with neonatal, infant, and under-five child mortality was 4.6%, 8.8%, and 10.6%, respectively. In households with and without neonatal, infant, and under-five child mortality, the mean (± SD) food insecurity scores were 2.19 ± 1.89 vs. 1.72 ± 1.65, 2.29 ± 1.94 vs. 1.69 ± 1.63, and 2.29 ± 1.93 vs. 1.68 ± 1.62 (all p < .0001), respectively. The food insecurity score was related to mortality among neonates (odds ratio [OR], 1.05; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02 to 1.09; p = .003), infants (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.09; p < .0001), and children under five (OR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.04 to 1.10; p < .0001) after adjustment for potential confounders.

Conclusions. Higher household food insecurity score is associated with greater neonatal, infant, and under-five child mortality among rural families in Indonesia. Greater household food insecurity may signify a higher risk of infant and young child mortality.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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