Food system sustainability and vulnerability

Food acquisition during the military occupation of Kuwait

Fahhad Alajmi, Shawn M. Somerset

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective To document food acquisition experiences during Iraqi military occupation in Kuwait. Design Retrospective cross-sectional study. Setting Urban areas in Kuwait during occupation. Subjects Those living in Kuwait during the period of occupation, and aged between 15 to 50 years at the time of occupation, recruited by snowball sampling. A total of 390 completed questionnaires (response rate 78 %, 202 female and 188 male) were returned. Results During the occupation, food became increasingly difficult to acquire. Two food systems emerged: (i) an underground Kuwaiti network linked to foods recovered from local food cooperatives and (ii) a black market supplied by food imported through Iraq or stolen locally. Food shortages led to reductions in meal size and frequency. Some respondents (47·7 %) reported not having sufficient income to purchase food and 22·1 % had to sell capital items to purchase food. There was a significant increase (P<0·01) in home production, with 23·1 % of people growing vegetables and 39·0 % raising animals to supplement food needs. Reduction in food wastage also emerged as a significant self-reported behaviour change. Respondents reported deterioration in the quality and availability of fish, milk, and fruit in particular. Despite a decrease in opportunities for physical activity, most respondents reported that they lost weight during the occupation. Conclusions Although the Kuwaiti population fell by about 90 % and domestic food production increased during the 7-month occupation, the local population continued to rely heavily on imported food to meet population needs. The high prevalence of self-reported weight loss indicates the inadequacies of this food supply. High apparent food security in systems which significantly exceed the ecological carrying capacity of the local environment and rely on mass food importation remains vulnerable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3060-3066
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Volume18
Issue number16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Kuwait
Food
Occupations
Food Supply
Population
Iraq
Conservation of Natural Resources
Dietary Supplements
Vegetables
Meals

Cite this

@article{6998d02794f94e8192bcccc9f7af0418,
title = "Food system sustainability and vulnerability: Food acquisition during the military occupation of Kuwait",
abstract = "Objective To document food acquisition experiences during Iraqi military occupation in Kuwait. Design Retrospective cross-sectional study. Setting Urban areas in Kuwait during occupation. Subjects Those living in Kuwait during the period of occupation, and aged between 15 to 50 years at the time of occupation, recruited by snowball sampling. A total of 390 completed questionnaires (response rate 78 {\%}, 202 female and 188 male) were returned. Results During the occupation, food became increasingly difficult to acquire. Two food systems emerged: (i) an underground Kuwaiti network linked to foods recovered from local food cooperatives and (ii) a black market supplied by food imported through Iraq or stolen locally. Food shortages led to reductions in meal size and frequency. Some respondents (47·7 {\%}) reported not having sufficient income to purchase food and 22·1 {\%} had to sell capital items to purchase food. There was a significant increase (P<0·01) in home production, with 23·1 {\%} of people growing vegetables and 39·0 {\%} raising animals to supplement food needs. Reduction in food wastage also emerged as a significant self-reported behaviour change. Respondents reported deterioration in the quality and availability of fish, milk, and fruit in particular. Despite a decrease in opportunities for physical activity, most respondents reported that they lost weight during the occupation. Conclusions Although the Kuwaiti population fell by about 90 {\%} and domestic food production increased during the 7-month occupation, the local population continued to rely heavily on imported food to meet population needs. The high prevalence of self-reported weight loss indicates the inadequacies of this food supply. High apparent food security in systems which significantly exceed the ecological carrying capacity of the local environment and rely on mass food importation remains vulnerable.",
keywords = "Food acquisition, Home food production, National food security, Sustainability, War, Humans, Middle Aged, Income, Commerce, Male, Warfare, Young Adult, Gardening, Adult, Female, Surveys and Questionnaires, Retrospective Studies, Iraq, Kuwait, Meals, Food Supply, Cross-Sectional Studies, Military Personnel, Animals, Diet, Weight Loss, Adolescent",
author = "Fahhad Alajmi and Somerset, {Shawn M.}",
year = "2015",
month = "7",
day = "30",
doi = "10.1017/S1368980014003048",
language = "English",
volume = "18",
pages = "3060--3066",
journal = "Public Health Nutrition",
issn = "1368-9800",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",
number = "16",

}

Food system sustainability and vulnerability : Food acquisition during the military occupation of Kuwait. / Alajmi, Fahhad; Somerset, Shawn M.

In: Public Health Nutrition, Vol. 18, No. 16, 30.07.2015, p. 3060-3066.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Food system sustainability and vulnerability

T2 - Food acquisition during the military occupation of Kuwait

AU - Alajmi, Fahhad

AU - Somerset, Shawn M.

PY - 2015/7/30

Y1 - 2015/7/30

N2 - Objective To document food acquisition experiences during Iraqi military occupation in Kuwait. Design Retrospective cross-sectional study. Setting Urban areas in Kuwait during occupation. Subjects Those living in Kuwait during the period of occupation, and aged between 15 to 50 years at the time of occupation, recruited by snowball sampling. A total of 390 completed questionnaires (response rate 78 %, 202 female and 188 male) were returned. Results During the occupation, food became increasingly difficult to acquire. Two food systems emerged: (i) an underground Kuwaiti network linked to foods recovered from local food cooperatives and (ii) a black market supplied by food imported through Iraq or stolen locally. Food shortages led to reductions in meal size and frequency. Some respondents (47·7 %) reported not having sufficient income to purchase food and 22·1 % had to sell capital items to purchase food. There was a significant increase (P<0·01) in home production, with 23·1 % of people growing vegetables and 39·0 % raising animals to supplement food needs. Reduction in food wastage also emerged as a significant self-reported behaviour change. Respondents reported deterioration in the quality and availability of fish, milk, and fruit in particular. Despite a decrease in opportunities for physical activity, most respondents reported that they lost weight during the occupation. Conclusions Although the Kuwaiti population fell by about 90 % and domestic food production increased during the 7-month occupation, the local population continued to rely heavily on imported food to meet population needs. The high prevalence of self-reported weight loss indicates the inadequacies of this food supply. High apparent food security in systems which significantly exceed the ecological carrying capacity of the local environment and rely on mass food importation remains vulnerable.

AB - Objective To document food acquisition experiences during Iraqi military occupation in Kuwait. Design Retrospective cross-sectional study. Setting Urban areas in Kuwait during occupation. Subjects Those living in Kuwait during the period of occupation, and aged between 15 to 50 years at the time of occupation, recruited by snowball sampling. A total of 390 completed questionnaires (response rate 78 %, 202 female and 188 male) were returned. Results During the occupation, food became increasingly difficult to acquire. Two food systems emerged: (i) an underground Kuwaiti network linked to foods recovered from local food cooperatives and (ii) a black market supplied by food imported through Iraq or stolen locally. Food shortages led to reductions in meal size and frequency. Some respondents (47·7 %) reported not having sufficient income to purchase food and 22·1 % had to sell capital items to purchase food. There was a significant increase (P<0·01) in home production, with 23·1 % of people growing vegetables and 39·0 % raising animals to supplement food needs. Reduction in food wastage also emerged as a significant self-reported behaviour change. Respondents reported deterioration in the quality and availability of fish, milk, and fruit in particular. Despite a decrease in opportunities for physical activity, most respondents reported that they lost weight during the occupation. Conclusions Although the Kuwaiti population fell by about 90 % and domestic food production increased during the 7-month occupation, the local population continued to rely heavily on imported food to meet population needs. The high prevalence of self-reported weight loss indicates the inadequacies of this food supply. High apparent food security in systems which significantly exceed the ecological carrying capacity of the local environment and rely on mass food importation remains vulnerable.

KW - Food acquisition

KW - Home food production

KW - National food security

KW - Sustainability

KW - War

KW - Humans

KW - Middle Aged

KW - Income

KW - Commerce

KW - Male

KW - Warfare

KW - Young Adult

KW - Gardening

KW - Adult

KW - Female

KW - Surveys and Questionnaires

KW - Retrospective Studies

KW - Iraq

KW - Kuwait

KW - Meals

KW - Food Supply

KW - Cross-Sectional Studies

KW - Military Personnel

KW - Animals

KW - Diet

KW - Weight Loss

KW - Adolescent

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84948575087&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1017/S1368980014003048

DO - 10.1017/S1368980014003048

M3 - Article

VL - 18

SP - 3060

EP - 3066

JO - Public Health Nutrition

JF - Public Health Nutrition

SN - 1368-9800

IS - 16

ER -