Efectos de la pandemia de COVID-19 en la inseguridad alimentaria en El Salvador durante el año 2020

Ayala Durán


This study sought to quantify the prevalence of food insecurity among Salvadorian households, to identify the determinants of food insecurity and to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food insecurity.


A nationwide, representative random sample of 2 358 households was used for this cross-sectional study. The Household Hunger Scale (HHS) was used to assess the prevalence of food insecurity during a 30-day period. For comparison, three items were used from the Household Food Insecurity Experience Scale (HFIES), which measures hunger occurring during a 12-month time frame. For determinant analysis, binary logistic regression was used for the HHS and ordered logistic regression for the HFIES.


The prevalence of food insecurity was 6.45% (152/2 356) among Salvadorian households when the HHS was used, affecting 5.48% (129/2356) to a moderate degree and 0.98% (23/2356) to a severe degree. The prevalence significantly increased when the HFIES scale items were used, with 35.41% (835/2358) of households being affected, a figure closer to the national poverty level. Determinants of food insecurity according to the HHS included agricultural problems (P = 0.00, odds ratio [OR] =1.69), the household’s prepandemic income (P = 0.00, OR = 0.48) and higher educational levels (i.e. having a secondary education [P = 0.00,
OR = 0.31], technical [P = 0.03, OR = 0.24] or university education [P = 0.00, OR = 0.05]). When using the HFIES, the determinants were similar (i.e. income, agricultural problems, educational level). In more than 94% (744/785) of households, participants reported that food insecurity was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.


When compared with other relevant international studies, the prevalence of food insecurity identified using the HHS – only 6.45% – was low for El Salvador. However, when using the HFIES scale, the prevalence rose to 35.41% of households. Some determinants align with previous studies, namely income, educational level and agricultural problems. The COVID-19 pandemic appeared to have direct effects on food insecurity

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