| South Africa and Ghana
Youth food insecurity in Ghana and South Africa: Prevalence, socioeconomic correlates, and moderation effect of gender
Abstract: In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), food insecurity disproportionately affects adolescents and young adults. However, youth food insecurity in SSA remains understudied. We examined the prevalence, socioeconomic correlates, and moderation effect of gender on youth food insecurity. Our study used a cross-sectional design with data collected from 1,383 and 4,165 youth (aged 15 to 24 years) in South Africa and Ghana, respectively. We performed multiple imputation and analyzed data using multivariable linear regression with clustered-robust standard errors. We conducted moderation tests by adding a 2-way interaction between gender and socioeconomic factors. Results indicated a high prevalence of food insecurity, most notably severe food insecurity. Significant socioeconomic correlates included: age, income, assets, and number of household dependents in Ghana; and race, financial capability skills, number of household shocks, and dwelling type in South Africa. In both countries, we found a moderation effect of gender, which suggests that boys are more food secure when their families have fewer economic resources and that girls are more food secure when their families have greater economic resources. We also observed a moderation effect of gender among younger youth but not among older youth in Ghana. Building household economic resources remains an important pathway to access to adequate food, particularly for girls. In addition, appropriate programs may be those that tailor their components to youths’ developmental stages, living situations, and financial responsibilities.
Suggested Citation: Masa, R., Khan, Z., & Chowa, G. (2020). Youth food insecurity in ghana and south africa: Prevalence, socioeconomic correlates, and moderation effect of gender. Children and Youth Services Review, 116, 105180. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105180