BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Food security is a multifaceted issue experienced by nations worldwide. A trend currently being explored in recent studies in measuring food security at the micro level is the Dietary Diversity Score (DDS). Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS), a type of DDS, obtains a snapshot of the economic ability of a household, making it an effective food insecurity indicator. The objective of this study was to assess the validity of the HDDS as a tool for measuring food insecurity.
METHODOLOGY: The study employed a cross-sectional analytic design with 368 study households in Lucena City, Quezon Philippines. Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) and Household Mean Adequacy Ratio (HHMAR), being two of the most frequently used methods in measuring household food insecurity, were used as reference standards to assess the validity of the HDDS in identifying food insecure households. Receiver Operating Curve (ROC) Analysis was done to determine the appropriate HDDS cut-off for identifying food insecure households.
RESULTS: The areas under the curve (AUC) obtained (0.618, 0.70, 0.701, 0.743), classified HDDS as a "fair indicator" of food insecurity. HDDS of 6 was identified as the optimal score when evaluating food insecurity withconsideration of sensitivity and specificity.
CONCLUSION: In this study, HDDS was proven to be a valid measure of food insecurity. It shows the great potential of this quick assessment tool in identifying population-at-risk, which is crucial in the design of a timely and appropriate intervention to alleviate food insecurity and other nutrition and health-related problems whichmay arise.