Food insecurity and water insecurity in rural Zimbabwe: Development of multidimensional household measures

Nadia Koyratty, Andrew D. Jones, Roseanne Schuster, Katarzyna Kordas, Chin Shang Li, Mduduzi N.N. Mbuya, Godfred O. Boateng, Robert Ntozini, Bernard Chasekwa, Jean H. Humphrey, Laura E. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: With millions of people experiencing malnutrition and inadequate water access, FI and WI remain topics of vital importance to global health. Existing unidimensional FI and WI metrics do not all capture similar multidimensional aspects, thus restricting our ability to assess and address food-and water-related issues. Methods: Using the Sanitation, Hygiene and Infant Nutrition Efficacy (SHINE) trial data, our study conceptualizes household FI (N = 3551) and WI (N = 3311) separately in a way that captures their key dimensions. We developed measures of FI and WI for rural Zimbabwean households based on multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) for categorical data. Results: Three FI dimensions were retained: ‘poor food access’, ‘household shocks’ and ‘low food quality and availability’, as were three WI dimensions: ‘poor water access’, ‘poor water quality’, and ‘low water reliability’. Internal validity of the multidimensional models was assessed using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) with test samples at baseline and 18 months. The dimension scores were associated with a group of exogenous variables (SES, HIV-status, season, depression, perceived health, food aid, water collection), additionally indicating predictive, convergent and discriminant validities. Conclusions: FI and WI dimensions are sufficiently distinct to be characterized via separate indicators. These indicators are critical for identifying specific problematic insecurity aspects and for finding new targets to improve health and nutrition interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6020
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • Dimensions
  • Food insecurity
  • Households
  • Measures
  • Water insecurity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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