Household food insecurity and dietary diversity as correlates of maternal and child undernutrition in rural Cambodia

C. M. McDonald, J. McLean, H. Kroeun, A. Talukder, L. D. Lynd, T. J. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives:To assess household food insecurity and dietary diversity as correlates of maternal and child anthropometric status and anemia in rural Cambodia.Methods:Trained interviewers administered a survey to 900 households in four rural districts of Prey Veng, Cambodia. The Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) and Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS) were used to assess household food insecurity and dietary diversity. The height, weight and hemoglobin concentration of the mother and youngest child under 5 years in each household were measured. Multivariate logistic regression models were constructed to assess the association between household food insecurity and dietary diversity, and child stunting and wasting, maternal thinness, maternal and child anemia.Results:The mean (s.d.) HFIAS and HDDS scores were 5.3 (3.9) and 4.7 (1.6), respectively. The respective prevalences of mild, moderate and severe food insecurity were 33, 37 and 12%. Maternal thinness, child stunting and child wasting were present in 14.6, 25.4 and 8.1% of respondents, respectively. The risk of maternal thinness, but not child stunting or wasting, increased as the severity of household food insecurity increased. Household food insecurity was also positively associated with maternal, but not child, anemia. Household dietary diversity status was not significantly associated with any of the outcomes we assessed.Conclusions:Efforts to improve household food security are important as a means of promoting maternal nutritional status; however, additional research is needed to better understand the role of other factors that are driving the burden of child undernutrition in Cambodia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-246
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 5 Feb 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this