Volume 23, Issue 5 (December & January - Special Issue on COVID-19 2020)                   J Arak Uni Med Sci 2020, 23(5): 774-785 | Back to browse issues page

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Tezerji S, Nazari Robati F. Status of Food Security in Kerman, Iran During the COVID-19 Pandemic. J Arak Uni Med Sci 2020; 23 (5) :774-785
URL: http://jams.arakmu.ac.ir/article-1-6392-en.html
1- Kerman Health Center, Kerman University Of Medical Science, Kerman, Iran. , sajjadt70@yahoo.com
2- Kerman Health Center, Kerman University Of Medical Science, Kerman, Iran.
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1. Introduction
nsuring continuous and regular access to food is crucial to food security. Food markets are supplied through both domestic production and international trade [1]. Numerous studies conducted in the last two decades have shown the scientific basis and empirical evidence to prove the role of nutrition in health, increasing efficiency and its relationship with economic development [3]. According to the latest definition of the World Health Organization, food security is the access of all people at all times to enough food for an active and healthy life [876]. The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has threatened access to food mainly through the loss of income and assets that impair the ability to buy food. The poorest households spend about 70% of their income on food and have limited access to financial markets, making their food security vulnerable particularly to income shocks [9].
2. Materials and Methods
This descriptive-analytical study with cross-sectional design was conducted on 500 households with health records in 5 health community centers located in three districts of Kerman city in Iran. The sample size (n=500) was determined according to the prevalence of food security crisis in 2008 in Iran (23.7%), reported in similar studies, and using formula by considering a 95% confidence interval. Samples were first selected according to the list of households covered by each center using a cluster sampling technique. After reviewing the demographic information of health community centers, the appropriate number of samples for each center was calculated according to the total sample size, and determined proportionally for each center. Then, the samples were randomly selected from the list of people covered by each center. The researcher set a specific date and time for completing the questionnaires at home by phone call, and after explaining the study process and obtaining informed consent, the questionnaires were distributed among them. Questionnaires were a socioeconomic/demographic form and the 18-item USDA Household Food Security Survey (HFSS) whose Persian version has a acceptable validity and reliability [20].
3. Results
The mean age of the participants who were the heads of households was 41±0.9 years; their mean weight was 63.3±0.42 kg; mean height, 160.4±0.26 cm; and Body Mass Index (BMI), 23.6±0.15 kg/m2 (Table 1). 

Mean and Standard Deviation (SD) of economic factors including house size, household size, and number of amenities in all subjects were reported 125.6±0.02, 3.5±0.05 and 3.8±0.06, respectively (Table 2). 

Participants were divided into four categories of food security based on their HFSS scores, including (a) Food secure (score 0-2), (b) Food insecure without hunger (score 3-7), (c) Food insecure with mild hunger (score 8-12), and (c) Food insecure with severe hunger (score >13). The highest number of samples (n=350) were in category 1 and the lowest number (n=5) were in category 4 (Table 3). 

4. Discussion and Conclusion
In this study, 70% of households were food secure, while 30% had food insecurity such that 20% had food insecurity without hunger, 9% food insecurity with mild hunger, and 1% food insecurity with severe hunger. As the COVID-19 epidemic progresses, there is a link between the need to curb the virus outbreak and prevent catastrophic economic crisis and food security which mostly harm the world’s poor and hungry people. Although a major food shortage has not yet emerged, the agricultural and food markets in turmoil due to labor shortages caused by travel restrictions and changes in food demand resulted from the closure of restaurants and schools, and the loss of income. Export restrictions imposed by some countries have disrupted the trade of staple foods such as wheat products and rice. Similar studies conducted in different cities of Iran have shown different results. For example, Mohammadi et al. reported a food insecurity prevalence of 34.8% in Tehran in 2014 [26]. Our results showed that economic variables affect the food security level; households who had smaller household size, higher number of amenities, owning a private house with a higher area were at a higher food security situation than other households. By improving the economic and social situation of the households, it can be expected that they pay more attention to their nutritional status and thus increase food security.

Ethical Considerations
Compliance with ethical guidelines

All ethical principles are considered in this article. The participants were informed about the purpose of the research and its implementation stages. They were also assured about the confidentiality of their information and were free to leave the study whenever they wished, and if desired, the research results would be available to them.

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Authors' contributions
All authors contributed equally in preparing this article.

Conflicts of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.

The authors would like to thank the Health Center of Kerman city for their cooperation.

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Type of Study: Original Atricle | Subject: COVID-19
Received: 2020/07/21 | Accepted: 2020/09/11

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