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Dietary diversity in relation to other household food security indicators

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This article describes dietary diversity in relation to other food security indicators used in a cross-sectional livelihood survey that included 499 randomly selected households within five municipalities in Greater Sekhukhune, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Indicators calculated using data collected by questionnaire included household dietary diversity score (DDS), living standards measure, months of food shortages and household food insecurity and access scale (HFIAS). Households with DDS ≤ 4 (n = 267) and DDS > 4 (n = 232) were compared using analysis of variance and χ²-test. Spearman correlation analysis was done for HFIAS and DDS. Compared to households with a DDS > 4, households with a DDS ≤ 4 had fewer assets, experienced more food shortages and had a higher HFIAS (16.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 15.0-17.0 vs. 9.8, 95% CI 8.8-10.9). An inverse correlation between HFIAS and dietary diversity (r = −0.450; p < 0.01) was observed. Therefore, dietary diversity is a promising indicator for food security.

Keywords: dietary diversity, food security, HFIAS, household food insecurity and access scale, living standard measures, stunting, living standards, South Africa, food shortages

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