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Assessing food insecurity : current underestimations in Australia, alternative measures and reflections on their use

Ramsey, Rebecca, Gallegos, Danielle, & Turrell, Gavin (2012) Assessing food insecurity : current underestimations in Australia, alternative measures and reflections on their use. In 16th International Congress of Dietetics, 5-8 September 2012, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Sydney, NSW. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Food insecurity is the limited access to, or availability of, nutritious, culturally-appropriate and safe foods, or the inability to access these foods by socially acceptable means. In Australia, the monitoring of food insecurity is limited to the use of a single item, included in the three-yearly National Health Survey (NHS). The current research comprised a) a review of the literature and available tools to measure food security, b) piloting and adaptation of the more comprehensive 16-item United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Security Survey Module (FSSM), and c) a cross-sectional study comparing this more comprehensive tool, and it’s 10- and 6- item short forms, with the current single-item used in the NHS, among a sample of households in disadvantaged urban-areas of Brisbane, Australia. Findings have shown that internationally the 16-item USDA-FSSM is the most widely used tool for the measurement of food insecurity. Furthermore, of the validated tools that exist to measure food insecurity, sensitivity and reliability decline as the number of questions in a tool decreases. Among an Australian sample, the current single-measure utilised in the NHS yielded a significantly lower prevalence for food insecurity compared to the 16-item USDA-FSSM and it’s two shorter forms respectively (four and two percentage points lower respectively). These findings suggest that the current prevalence of food insecurity (estimated at 6% in the most recent NHS) may have been underestimated, and have important implications for the development of an effective means of monitoring food security within the context of a developed country.

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ID Code: 55251
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Keywords: Food security, Food insecurity, Measurement
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NUTRITION AND DIETETICS (111100) > Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified (111199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Epidemiology (111706)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Deposited On: 04 Dec 2012 08:06
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2012 08:06

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