This paper addresses the gap in economic theory underlying the multidimensional concept of food security and observed data by deriving a composite food security index using the latent class model. The link between poverty and food security is then examined using the new food security index and the robustness of the link is compared with two unidimensional measures often used in the literature. Using Vietnam as a case study, it was found that a weak link exists for the rural but not for the urban composite food security index. The unidimensional measures on the other hand show a strong link in both the rural and urban regions. The results on the link are also different and mixed when two poverty types given by persistent and transient poverty are considered. These findings have important policy implications for a targeted approach to addressing food security.