Food security

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Food security in the AIFS library catalogue

The real youth survival report 2019

Colony 47
North Hobart, Tas. : Colony 47, 2019.
This report provides insights into the challenges facing unemployed young people in Tasmania and the consequences of running out of money. It presents findings from a survey of young people on their living arrangements, ever haven stolen because of being hungry, skipping meals due to a lack of money, whether their Centrelink payment had ever been suspended, ability to save money, debt, making money through a side income, experiencing financial stress, whether their financial situation puts them at risk of homelessness, and whether their financial situation is a barrier to finding work. Sixty-six young people took part, aged from 15 to 24, with most participants receiving Youth or Newstart payments. The participants also provide comments about their circumstances. The report concludes that there is a clear need to raise the Youth and Newstart payments. This report was prepared by a group of young unemployed people as part of Anti-Poverty Week 2019.

Foodbank hunger report 2019

Foodbank Australia, McCrindle Research (Firm)
North Ryde, N.S.W. : Foodbank Australia, 2019.
The Foodbank Hunger Report provides an annual snapshot of the largely hidden problem of food insecurity in Australia. This 2019 report presents insights from two pieces of research: a survey of 1,017 people who had experienced food insecurity as well as the annual Foodbank Welfare Agency Survey, conducted with 2,089 welfare agencies and community groups sourcing food from Foodbank. The report highlights how rates of food insecurity are increasing in Australia and charities are struggling to keep up with demand. In the last year, more than one in five Australians have been in a situation where they have run out of food and have been unable to buy more, and at least once a week, three in ten food insecure Australians go a whole day without eating. Women are at greater risk of food insecurity than men are, and experience it differently, with higher levels of emotional strain and a greater likelihood of family violence and single-parenthood. Information is included on food relief supply and demand, at risk groups, regional differences, the reasons for food insecurity and how those experiencing it try to cope, its impact on quality of life, and the benefits of food relief.

WA Food Relief Framework report

Western Australian Council of Social Service, Noongar Family Safety and Wellbeing Council
West Perth, W.A. : WACOSS, 2019
Food insecurity is a growing problem in Western Australia and charitable food services all reported dramatic increases in the demand for food relief in the last year. The Western Australian Council of Social Service, in collaboration with the food relief sector, has developed this report to map the issues and identify solutions regarding the state's food security system. First, the report discusses the current food relief sector, the drivers and experiences of food insecurity, existing responses to food insecurity, estimating the quantum of food relief required with a Food Stress Index. It then looks at solutions, by asking: how do we improve the statewide availability, transportation, storage and distribution of nutritious food for people and communities who live with food insecurity?; how do we improve our support to people who are food insecure through program funding, the core and ancillary services we provide, referrals pathways and the advocacy we do?; what is important to food relief recipients, what is appropriate and how do we keep food safe and nutritious as well as ensure that the system supports autonomy, dignity and pathways out of food insecurity?; and how to achieve effective, well-coordinated and resourced, central policy oversight from government. This Food Relief Framework establishes a platform for change and will be followed by further initiatives to maintain momentum.

Measuring and understanding food insecurity in Australia : a systematic review.

McKay F, Haines B and Dunn M
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health v. 16 no. 3 2019: Article 476
A variety of approaches are being used to measure food security in Australia, so the state of the evidence is unclear. This article presents a systematic review of the literature to identify the breadth of research being conducted in Australia, including the instruments used and the populations under study, and provide an overview of the severity of food insecurity in Australia as presented by these studies. Given the wide range of estimates reported, the article calls for greater consistency in measuring food insecurity, preferably with a measure tailored for the Australian context.

Insights into hardship and disadvantage in Perth, Western Australia: the 100 Families WA baseline report

Seivwright A and Flatau P
Perth, WA : 100 Families WA, 2019.
100 Families WA is a three-year collaborative research project that aims to identify what works to address entrenched disadvantage in families in Western Australia. This report presents findings from the first wave of surveys, which were conducted in 2018/19 with 400 clients of the partner social service agencies. The survey asked about demographics, family and household composition, income, material deprivation, social and personal connections, health status, employment status, mental health outcomes, substance use, wellbeing and quality of life, and adverse life experiences. It also included several open-ended questions: 'what would you do with a spare $100?', 'what does a good day look like for you?', 'what do you need to be safe and well?', and 'what is the one thing that would make the biggest positive change in your life?' To describe the respondents: over a quarter were single adults, over half had children in their care, and nearly a fifth had other family care responsibilities. The findings describe families facing high rates of homelessness, financial stress, food insecurity, chronic health and mental health conditions, and experience of domestic violence - highlighting how this disadvantage spans multiple domains of socioeconomic wellbeing and is deep and persistent.

'I regularly don't eat at all': trying to get by on Newstart.

Australian Council of Social Service
Strawberry Hills, N.S.W. : Australian Council of Social Service, 2019
This media release presents findings from a survey of 489 people who receive Newstart or Youth Allowance social welfare payments about how people are coping. It was released as part of a broader campaign to raise the rate of the Newstart Allowance in Australia. The survey findings highlight how these payments are inadequate to cover basic living costs and the lengths people go to to get by, including skipping meals and going without heating or healthcare. Note, the survey was conducted to present insights into this issue and are not intended to provide a comprehensive analysis of material deprivation. The media release concludes by calling for the Federal Government to increase these payment rates and index them to wages as well as CPI.

We want to know: financial stress, accommodation insecurity and food insecurity in undergraduate students : results from the 2018 Higher Education Accommodation and Financial Stress Survey

Thielking M, Brownfield N, Quinn S and Bates G
Hawthorn, Vic. : Distributed by Australian Policy Online, 2019.
This study adds to the growing evidence on the financial hardship faced by university students in Australia. It presents the findings of a survey of 1,231 undergraduate and TAFE students, aged 18 to 25 years old, who were studying on-campus at Swinburne University of Technology in Hawthorn, Victoria. The students were asked about financial stress, food insecurity and hunger, income and welfare payments, and accommodation insecurity and experience of homelessness, as well as psychological distress, quality of life, satisfaction with health, and number of hours spent working and whether all of these factors affected their ability to study, complete assessments on time, concentrating during class, stay at university, and continuing onto postgraduate study. The findings show that a significant number of these students experience unacceptable levels of poverty, with a corresponding impact on their wellbeing and ability to engage academically at university. The report compares the findings to those of other recent studies and concludes with recommendations for university services.

Child Friendly Alice community profile: about the children and families of Alice Springs 2019.

Guenther J, Brittle S and Fleming J
Alice Springs, N.T. : Child Friendly Alice, 2019.
This report provides statistics on how the children of Alice Springs, in central Australia, are faring as well as their local conditions and living standards. Information is provided on family violence, neighbourhood safety, family relationships, child protection, housing, food security, health and health services, engagement in learning, family support for learning, community amenity, participation, and support for identity and culture. Data is drawn from official statistics and a community survey, and is presented using the Nest Framework developed by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth. This report can serve as a baseline to measure how the children in Alice Springs are faring over time, and identifies what gaps in the data need addressing. A technical report will be made available with more detailed information and analysis of the statistical data. This report is produced by Child Friendly Alice, a community initiative to enhance the wellbeing of children in Alice Springs.

Entrenched disadvantage in Western Australia: health, economic and social impacts.

Seivwright A, Callis Z and Flatau P
Perth, WA : 100 Families WA, 2019.
100 Families WA is a three-year research project that aims to identify what works to address entrenched disadvantage in families in Western Australia. The first wave of surveys were conducted in 2018/19 with 400 clients of the partner agencies. This paper presents the first findings on the participants' characteristics and circumstances, and compares them with those of the general population. Topics include: health, disability, caring responsibilities, employment rate, sources of support, material deprivation, neighbourhood satisfaction, and food insecurity. Overall, the findings indicate that community service clients are experiencing significant health, economic and social impacts that act to further impede a transition from entrenched disadvantage. The project is a collaboration between community service agencies, the University of Western Australia, and the families experiencing entrenched disadvantage.

Material deprivation and capability deprivation in the midst of affluence : the case of young people in Australia.

Redmond G and Skattebol J
Children and Youth Services Review v. 97 Feb 2019: 36-48
This article explores young people's views of material deprivation, focusing on their experience of a lack of adequate food and clothing. It draws on interviews with 193 young people as well as findings from a survey of 5,440 children and young people aged 9-14 years old. The findings highlight how this material deprivation is most apparent among marginalised young people, such as young people with disability, young carers, and Indigenous young people. The findings also highlight Amartya Sen's Capability Approach to deprivation, where the lack of adequate food and clothing denies young people the capability to avoid shame and engage in social participation and education.

2017 Universities Australia student finances survey

Universities Australia
Canberra, ACT : Universities Australia, 2018.
This report looks at the financial circumstances of university students in Australia in 2017. Over 11,000 domestic students and 6,800 international students from 38 universities took part, answering questions about income and spending, paid work and its impact on study, access to income support, the costs of living and studying, and borrowing and debt. Though there has been slight improvement in domestic students' financial circumstances since the previous surveys, a significant proportion of students are doing it tough - regional, Indigenous, and low socioeconomic status students in particular. Over half of the domestic undergraduate students are worried about their financial situation, 15% regularly go without food or necessities because they can't afford them, and over a quarter regularly miss classes because they have to work.

Walking the food security tightrope - exploring the experiences of low-to-middle income Melbourne households.

Kleve S, Booth S, Davidson Z and Palermo C
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health v. 15 no. 10 2018: Article 2206
This article explores food security in low-to-middle income households, drawing on interviews with 16 adults in Melbourne, Victoria. Participants were asked about their experiences of food insecurity, risk and protective factors, the strategies they employed to prevent or address food insecurity, food decision making, and the impacts of living with food insecurity. The findings highlight the precarious nature of achieving food security and the traits and assets drawn upon when facing triggers that threaten their food security. The study add to what is known about how food security is experienced in this income group.

Cost of living 2018

Western Australian Council of Social Service
West Perth, WA : WACOSS, 2018.
This report models the cost of living for vulnerable households in Western Australia in 2017/2018, as well as the adequacy of income to meet these costs and changes over the last 2 years. It looks the situation of a typical single parent family, working family, unemployed single person, a retired couple renting a house, and a retired couple who own their own house, and also considers regional variations. This annual series, which commenced in 2007, analyses relative changes in living costs and their likely impacts on current and future levels of deprivation and need. This report also features insights on the specific challenges faced by financially stressed households, drawing on an analysis of 404 household budgets collated by financial counsellors across Western Australia. The report concludes with recommendations for the state government to help manage cost of living pressures and achieve a more equitable society.

Vulnerable, single and living in poverty : women's challenges to accessing food in the Australian Capital Territory.

Lawlis T, Devine A and Upton P
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health v. 42 no. 6 Dec 2018: 541-546
This article explores women's experiences of food security in the Australian Capital Territory. Interviews were conducted with 41 low-income single women living in government and community housing, regarding sources of income and social support, where they obtained food, use of emergency relief centres and food banks, range of foods available, barriers and challenges to accessing food, and the importance of cooking. About half of the participants had dependent children. The findings highlight the issues faced as well as the similarities in the characteristics of these vulnerable women and people who are not food insecure.

Experiences of food access for asylum seekers who have ceased using a food bank in Melbourne, Australia.

McKay F, Bugden M, Dunn M and Bazerghi C
British Food Journal v. 120 no. 8 2018: 1708-1721
This article explores why eligible asylum seekers ceased using a foodbank service. Interviews were conducted with 70 asylum seekers in Melbourne, Victoria, regarding their experiences of food insecurity and hunger, their views of such emergency relief services, and any barriers to access. The participants highlighted food security concerns but also transport difficulties and issues of food at the foodbank not being culturally or religiously appropriate.

Achieving the four dimensions of food security for resettled refugees in Australia : a systematic review.

Lawlis T, Islam W and Upton P
Nutrition and Dietetics v. 75 no. 2 Apr 2018: 182-192
This article reviews the literature on the challenges refugees in Australia face in achieving food security, discussed in terms of food availability, access, utilisation, and stability. The findings highlight risks for health and integration.

Review of nutrition among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Lee A and Ride K
Mount Lawley, WA : Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, 2018.
This paper collates key information relating to diet and nutrition among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, including key issues and the evidence base. Information is presented on: key facts, the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nutrition, Australian dietary guidelines, nutrition in pregnancy and the early years, adult and community nutrition, food security, costs of poor diet and nutrition, nutrition programs and services, the nutrition workforce, policies and strategies, and future directions.

Foodbank hunger report 2018

Foodbank Australia, McCrindle Research (Firm)
North Ryde, N.S.W. : Foodbank Australia, 2018.
The Foodbank Hunger Report provides an annual snapshot of the largely hidden problem of food insecurity in Australia. This 2018 report presents insights from two pieces of research: a survey of 767 people who had experienced food insecurity as well as the annual Foodbank Welfare Agency Survey, conducted with 1,710 welfare agencies and community groups sourcing food from Foodbank. The report highlights the widespread prevalence of food insecurity and the struggle of charities to keep up with demand. Information is included on food relief supply and demand, at risk groups, regional differences, the reasons for food insecurity and how those experiencing it try to cope, its impact on quality of life, and the benefits of food relief.

Food insecurity

Child Trends, Incorporated
Bethesda, MD : Child Trends, 2018.
This webpage present key statistics on food insecurity among children in the United States, including trends in the percentage of children living in food insecure households (1995-2016), and differences by race, family structure, and household income. In 2016, 18% of children under age 18 lived in food-insecure households, and steady decrease since the 2008 recession.

A review of studies examining the link between food insecurity and malnutrition

Maitra C
Rome : Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2018.
Though a key component of food insecurity is lack of access to a sufficient quantity of nutritious food, the evidence on the association between food insecurity and malnutrition is not conclusive. This report investigates this further with a review of what is known about the nature and extent of the association between food insecurity - specifically the experience of not having access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food due to lack of money or other resources - and key indicators of malnutrition: child stunting, child wasting, low birth weight, exclusive breastfeeding of infants under 6 months of age, anaemia in women of reproductive age, child overweight, and adult obesity. Gaps in the evidence and limitations in the research are identified. However, food insecurity can be identified as a predictor of undernutrition as well as overweight and obesity, with implications for policy approaches.

Hidden hunger and malnutrition in the elderly

Forsey A
England : Feeding Britain, 2018.
In 2014 the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger presented 'Feeding Britain', a strategy to achieve zero hunger across the United Kingdom. This new report focuses on the issues facing older people and calls for action. It reviews the prevalence of malnutrition amongst older people is and how it is likely to increase, explores the circumstances behind this phenomenon and the particular factors which result in certain groups of older people becoming more vulnerable than others, estimates the impact on the National Health Service and social care services, highlights examples of community action, and considers a set of proposals for a reform programme to help counter malnutrition amongst older people for good. As only a limited sample of evidence was received by the inquiry into the special issues of older people, this report aims to draw awareness of this issue by supermarkets, social care providers, third sector organisations, and the Government.

Britain's not-so-hidden hunger: a progress report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger

Forsey A
England : Feeding Britain, 2018.
In 2014 the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger presented 'Feeding Britain', a strategy to achieve zero hunger across the United Kingdom. One hundred days later, this follow up report looks at what progress has been made. It notes more recent data on the longer term pressures on budgets in poor households, expands upon fresh reports received of children complaining in some cases of' 'persistent' hunger at school, maps the 'hidden army' helping to feed the hungry, then considers some potential next steps towards establishing a way of measuring and then countering hunger in the nation.

Evaluation of the School Breakfast Clubs Program: interim report - March 2018

MacDonald F
Yarraville, Vic. : Foodbank Victoria, 2018
In 2015-2016, the Victorian Government funded Foodbank Victoria to establish breakfast clubs at 500 disadvantaged government primary school over the next four years. Research has found that such schemes not only help address hunger and associated learning problems, breakfast club attendance also has an impact on behaviour and wellbeing. Victoria University is evaluating this School Breakfast Clubs Program (SBCP) and provides an interim report each year into operations, impacts, and challenges. This report presents findings after two years of operation, and is based on preliminary data from the Foodbank baseline survey, the 2016 and 2017 annual survey, the 2016 and 2017 teacher survey, focus groups with students, and the six case-study findings. In the 2017 findings, 88% of the schools report that they are meeting the breakfast needs of their students, but 46% still report that staffing and volunteers remain the greatest barrier to the program being offered more frequently. Impacts on students include concentration, informal learning, social skills, behaviour, emotional and mental health and wellbeing, academic outcomes, attendance and punctuality, and relations with staff.

Access to healthy food: NCOSS cost of living report

Council of Social Service of New South Wales
Woolloomooloo, NSW : NCOSS, 2018.
This report explores why people on a low income may not be eating a healthy diet, drawing on a survey of 402 people on low incomes in New South Wales. The findings highlight difficulties in affording, accessing, and utilising healthy food, and reveal issues in food security and healthy food consumption among this vulnerable group. The survey respondents also discuss their own strategies for dealing with food insecurity and what policies and services they think would make a difference. The report concludes with recommendations for state government policy.

Preliminary validation and piloting of a comprehensive measure of household food security in Australia.

Kleve S, Gallegos D, Ashby S, Palermo C and McKechnie R
Public Health Nutrition v. 21 no. 3 Feb 2018: 526-534
This authors' have previously worked to develop a measure of food and nutrition security appropriate for use in Australia: the Household Food and Nutrition Security Survey (HFNSS). This article assesses the measure's validity and reliability with a sample 134 adults from at risk suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria. This article discusses the findings and makes comparisons with the widely-used US Department of Agriculture Food Security Survey Module.

Single-item measure of food insecurity used in the National Health Survey may underestimate prevalence in Australia.

McKechnie R, Turrell G, Giskes K and Gallegos D
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health v. 42 no. 4 Aug 2018: 389-395
This article investigates whether the way food insecurity is measured in Australia may underestimate its prevalence and public health significance. In the United States, an 18-item Department of Agriculture Food Security Survey Module (USDA-FSSM) is used - though 6- and 10- item versions are also available. However, in Australia, only a single question is asked in the National Health Survey. To assess this further, it uses these different measures to compare the reported prevalence of food insecurity in disadvantaged suburbs of Brisbane in 2009. It also assesses appropriateness of the American scales for use with low-socioeconomic samples in Australia. The study finds that the prevalence of food insecurity is less when measured by the single-item measure than with any of the USDA-FSSM scales, with implications for monitoring and surveillance efforts.

Rumbling tummies: child hunger in Australia

Foodbank Australia, McCrindle Research (Firm)
North Ryde, N.S.W. : Foodbank Australia, 2018.
This report investigates the scale and impact of food insecurity for children in Australia, drawing on a survey conducted for food relief organisation Foodbank by McCrindle Research. It estimates that more than one in five children in Australia live in a food insecure household: indeed, it is more likely for a child to live in a food insecure household than an adult, with 22% of children experiencing food insecurity in the previous 12 months compared to 15% of adults. The study finds that, at least once a week, 18% of children go to school without eating breakfast, 15% go to school without a packed lunch or lunch money, and 11% go to bed without eating any dinner. Participants were asked about the causes of food insecurity, future concerns, impacts on diet and meals, impacts on children's wellbeing and behaviour, coping and help seeking seeking strategies, and the benefits of food assistance schemes. The study involved an initial panel survey of 1,002 parents - to identify prevalence in the community - supplemented by a further survey of 602 parents living in food insecure households.

America's children: key national indicators of well-being, 2017

Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (U.S.)
Washington, D.C. : Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 2017.
The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics was founded in 1994 to foster coordination and collaboration in the collection and reporting of American federal data on children and families. This annual series presents key national indicators of well-being for children, including family and social environment, child care, child abuse, child poverty, food security, parental employment, health care, health insurance, immunization, physical environment and safety, injury and mortality, risky behavior, family reading, academic achievement, high school completion, youth not in work or education, infant mortality and birthweight, emotional and behavioral difficulties, disability, diet, and obesity. This 2017 edition provides the latest data and also features a special section on peer victimisation among 3rd grade students.

WACOSS cost of living 2017

Western Australian Council of Social Service
West Perth, WA : WACOSS, 2017.
This report models the cost of living for vulnerable households in Western Australia in 2016/2017, as well as the adequacy of income to meet these costs and changes over the last few years. It looks the situation of a typical single patent family, working family, unemployed single person, a retired couple renting a house, and a retired couple who own their own house, and also considers regional variations. This annual series, which commenced in 2007, analyses relative changes in living costs and their likely impacts on current and future levels of deprivation and need. This report also features insights on the specific challenges faced by financially stressed households, drawing on an analysis of 265 household budgets collated by financial counsellors across Western Australia. The report concludes with recommendations for the state government to help manage cost of living pressures and achieve a more equitable society.

Are low-to-middle-income households experiencing food insecurity in Victoria, Australia? An examination of the Victorian Population Health Survey, 2006-2009.

Kleve S, Davidson Z, Gearon E, Booth S and Palermo C
Australian Journal of Primary Health v. 23 no. 3 2017: 249-256
This article explores the prevalence and frequency of food insecurity in low-to-middle-income households in Victoria. Using data from the Victorian Population Health Surveys from 2006-2009, it looks at food security over time, factors associated with food insecurity, and financial stress. The findings highlight how food insecurity is not just an issue for the very poor.
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