Validation of food security and social support scales in an Afro-Colombian community: application on a prevalence study of nutritional status in children aged 6 to 18 months

We conducted a cross-sectional study on 193 mothers of children 6 to 18 months of age in an African-Colombian community, with the objectives: (1) to adapt and validate the Community Childhood Hunger Identification Project scale, the DUKE-UNC-11 social support scale, and the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD) partner support scale, and (2) to identify any existent relationship between nutritional status in infancy and both food insecurity and social support. We determined construct validity using factor analysis and theoretical models-based non-parametric correlations. Length-for-age and weight-for-length Z-results were calculated. Factor analyses reduced the hunger scale to one factor, the DUKE-UNC-11 scale to two factors, and the QLSCD scale to one factor. The Cronbach's alpha test ranged between 0.70 and 0.90. Both food insecurity and social support scales were correlated with mother's social conditions, and social support was positively associated with social networks and mother's self-perceived health status. Food insecurity, emotional-social support, and partner's negative support were associated with lower height-to-age and therefore a higher ratio of chronic malnutrition. The study supports the appropriateness of the instruments to measure the expressed concepts.

Social Support; Nutritional Status; Child Welfare

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