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Measuring and understanding food insecurity in Australia: a systematic review

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-02-06, 00:00 authored by Fiona McKayFiona McKay, Bronte Haines, Matthew DunnMatthew Dunn
The number of Australians seeking food aid has increased in recent years; however, the current variability in the measurement of food insecurity means that the prevalence and severity of food insecurity in Australia is likely underreported. This is compounded by infrequent national health surveys that measure food insecurity, resulting in outdated population-level food insecurity data. This review sought to investigate the breadth of food insecurity research conducted in Australia to evaluate how this construct is being measured. A systematic review was conducted to collate the available Australian research. Fifty-seven publications were reviewed. Twenty-two used a single-item measure to examine food security status; 11 used the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Household Food Security Survey Module (HFSSM); two used the Radimer/Cornell instrument; one used the Household Food and Nutrition Security Survey (HFNSS); while the remainder used a less rigorous or unidentified method. A wide range in prevalence and severity of food insecurity in the community was reported; food insecurity ranged from 2% to 90%, depending on the measurement tool and population under investigation. Based on the findings of this review, the authors suggest that there needs to be greater consistency in measuring food insecurity, and that work is needed to create a measure of food insecurity tailored for the Australian context. Such a tool will allow researchers to gain a clear understanding of the prevalence of food insecurity in Australia to create better policy and practice responses.

History

Journal

International journal of environmental research and public health

Volume

16

Issue

3

Article number

476

Publisher

MDPI

Location

Basel, Switzerland

ISSN

1661-7827

eISSN

1660-4601

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, The Authors