Research Topic

Food Insecurity

About this Research Topic

In 2015, at least 795 million people worldwide, some 12.9% of world population, lacked enough food to lead a healthy and active life. The majority lived in developing countries in Asia (512 million) and Sub-Saharan Africa (220 million) and these figures are only increasing.

Food insecurity (FI) has been defined by the FAO as: “a situation that exists when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life”. Factors that may lead to FI include non-availability of food, lack of access, improper utilization (health and sanitation), and political / economic instability. In addition, institutional issues such as lack of secure land tenure, inability to save seed or access them at reasonable costs, and lack of accountability of governments to their people also contribute to FI.

The concept of FI has been extended to include micronutrient deficiency and metabolic diseases. To emphasize health equity, focus should be given to the people living under the most disadvantaged conditions who are not generally included in national statistics because they are not easily traceable. These include refugees, migrant workers, slum dwellers, the homeless, broken families, street children, and victims of natural and man-made disasters such as floods, droughts, conflicts and wars. These people have an urgent need for better coping strategies and metrics for FI.

The purpose of this Research Topic is to provide a comprehensive series of articles dealing with food insecurity under the following headings:

1. Populations at risk due to natural and man-made disasters and others that are especially vulnerable to food insecurity
a. Areas of protracted crisis
b. Refugees (climate, political and economic)
c. Indigenous populations
d. People dependent on fisheries
e. People dependent on forest resources
f. Populations difficult to monitor, such as homeless, undocumented immigrants and street children

2. Management – at state and intergovernmental level
a. Practical management of acute, emergency FI in natural and man-made disasters Planning, Emergency Teams and Equipment
b. Long term: political and economic instability

3. Management and coping at the individual, household, and community levels
a. Community and kitchen gardens; small livestock
b. Wild food harvesting
c. Food and water safety issues and controversies
d. Agroecology
e. Case studies and examples from Positive Deviance
f. Commercial food supply in remote communities

4. Measurement of FI
a. Macro-scale indicators, including vital statistics, anthropometric measurement, sanitation, protection nets
b. Comparisons of the various measures: At the household/ individual level, Coping strategy index (CSI), Food consumption scores (FCS), Household dietary diversity scale (HDDS), Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)

5. Relations with sustainability and food system reform

The aim is to cover these issues on a world-wide basis with special emphasis on Low and Middle Income countries and marginalized/ deprived/ disempowered populations in developed countries.

Contributions should also incorporate, where possible, gaps in knowledge and policy recommendations.


Keywords: Food systems, nutrition, hunger, right to food, food insecurity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In 2015, at least 795 million people worldwide, some 12.9% of world population, lacked enough food to lead a healthy and active life. The majority lived in developing countries in Asia (512 million) and Sub-Saharan Africa (220 million) and these figures are only increasing.

Food insecurity (FI) has been defined by the FAO as: “a situation that exists when people lack secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life”. Factors that may lead to FI include non-availability of food, lack of access, improper utilization (health and sanitation), and political / economic instability. In addition, institutional issues such as lack of secure land tenure, inability to save seed or access them at reasonable costs, and lack of accountability of governments to their people also contribute to FI.

The concept of FI has been extended to include micronutrient deficiency and metabolic diseases. To emphasize health equity, focus should be given to the people living under the most disadvantaged conditions who are not generally included in national statistics because they are not easily traceable. These include refugees, migrant workers, slum dwellers, the homeless, broken families, street children, and victims of natural and man-made disasters such as floods, droughts, conflicts and wars. These people have an urgent need for better coping strategies and metrics for FI.

The purpose of this Research Topic is to provide a comprehensive series of articles dealing with food insecurity under the following headings:

1. Populations at risk due to natural and man-made disasters and others that are especially vulnerable to food insecurity
a. Areas of protracted crisis
b. Refugees (climate, political and economic)
c. Indigenous populations
d. People dependent on fisheries
e. People dependent on forest resources
f. Populations difficult to monitor, such as homeless, undocumented immigrants and street children

2. Management – at state and intergovernmental level
a. Practical management of acute, emergency FI in natural and man-made disasters Planning, Emergency Teams and Equipment
b. Long term: political and economic instability

3. Management and coping at the individual, household, and community levels
a. Community and kitchen gardens; small livestock
b. Wild food harvesting
c. Food and water safety issues and controversies
d. Agroecology
e. Case studies and examples from Positive Deviance
f. Commercial food supply in remote communities

4. Measurement of FI
a. Macro-scale indicators, including vital statistics, anthropometric measurement, sanitation, protection nets
b. Comparisons of the various measures: At the household/ individual level, Coping strategy index (CSI), Food consumption scores (FCS), Household dietary diversity scale (HDDS), Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)

5. Relations with sustainability and food system reform

The aim is to cover these issues on a world-wide basis with special emphasis on Low and Middle Income countries and marginalized/ deprived/ disempowered populations in developed countries.

Contributions should also incorporate, where possible, gaps in knowledge and policy recommendations.


Keywords: Food systems, nutrition, hunger, right to food, food insecurity


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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01 February 2018 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

01 February 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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