Food insecurity and socioeconomic disadvantage in Australia

Ami Seivwright, Zoe Callis, Paul Flatau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Research on food insecurity in Australia has typically relied on a single-item measure and finds that approximately 5% of the population experiences food insecurity. This research also finds that demographic characteristics such as household composition and marital status affect levels of food insecurity, independent of income level. The present study examines the prevalence and correlates of food insecurity in a cohort (n = 400) of people experiencing entrenched disadvantage in Perth, Western Australia. Using the US Department of Agriculture Household Food Security Survey Module, we find that food insecurity at the household, adult, and child level is at sharply elevated levels, with 82.8% of the sample reporting household food insecurity, 80.8% and 58.3% experiencing food insecurity among adults and children, respectively. Demographic characteristics do not significantly affect levels of food insecurity, and food insecurity is associated with negative physical and mental health outcomes. Food insecurity is positively correlated with access to food emergency relief services, indicating that these services are being used by those most in need, but do not address the root causes of food insecurity. Policy and practice should focus on increasing stable access to adequate quantities and quality of food and addressing the structural causes of food insecurity
Original languageEnglish
Article number559
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


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