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Prevalence and socio-demographic predictors of food insecurity in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Kent, K ORCID: 0000-0002-5330-7044, Murray, S ORCID: 0000-0002-2261-7840, Penrose, B ORCID: 0000-0001-9604-4953, Auckland, S ORCID: 0000-0001-7972-0227, Visentin, D ORCID: 0000-0001-9961-4384, Godrich, S and Lester, EA ORCID: 0000-0003-1046-2412 2020 , 'Prevalence and socio-demographic predictors of food insecurity in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic' , Nutrients, vol. 12 , pp. 1-20 , doi: 10.3390/nu12092682.

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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated economic vulnerabilities and disrupted theAustralian food supply, with potential implications for food insecurity. This study aims to describe theprevalence and socio-demographic associations of food insecurity in Tasmania, Australia, during theCOVID-19 pandemic. A cross-sectional survey (deployed late May to early June 2020) incorporatedthe U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module: Six-Item Short Form, and fifteen demographicand COVID-related income questions. Survey data (n = 1170) were analyzed using univariate andmultivariate binary logistic regression. The prevalence of food insecurity was 26%. The adjusted oddsof food insecurity were higher among respondents with a disability, from a rural area, and living withdependents. Increasing age, a university education, and income above $80,000/year were protectiveagainst food insecurity. Food insecurity more than doubled with a loss of household income above25% (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR): 2.02; 95% CI: 1.11, 3.71; p = 0.022), and the odds further increasedwith loss of income above 75% (AOR: 7.14; 95% CI: 2.01, 24.83; p = 0.002). Our results suggest thatthe prevalence of food insecurity may have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularlyamong economically vulnerable households and people who lost income. Policies that supportdisadvantaged households and ensure adequate employment opportunities are important to supportAustralians throughout and post the COVID-19 pandemic.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Kent, K and Murray, S and Penrose, B and Auckland, S and Visentin, D and Godrich, S and Lester, EA
Keywords: food insecurity, Australia, COVID-19, food supply
Journal or Publication Title: Nutrients
Publisher: M D P I AG
ISSN: 2072-6643
DOI / ID Number: 10.3390/nu12092682
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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