Understanding hunger and developing indicators to assess it in women and children

Kathy L. Radimer, Christine M. Olson, Jennifer C. Greene, Cathy C. Campbell, Jean Pierre Habicht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The lack of an operational definition for hunger has been frequently cited as a barrier to progress in addressing the problem. The purposes of this research were to develop an understanding of hunger from the perspective of women who had experienced it and to construct and evaluate indicators to measure hunger directly in similar populations. In-depth interviews were conducted with 32 women of childbearing age from rural and urban areas of Upstate New York. Qualitative analysis of the responses yielded a conceptualization of hunger that included two levels: the individual and household. Hunger at each of these levels had quantitative, qualitative, psychological and social components. These women also viewed hunger as a managed process. Based on this conceptualization of hunger, survey items were developed and evaluated, using data from a questionnaire administered to 189 women from the same geographical area. Three scales, one each for household, women's, and children's hunger, emerged and were found to be valid and reliable indicators for measuring hunger directly in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36S-44S
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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