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


Kent, K and Murray, S and Penrose, B and Auckland, S and Visentin, D and Godrich, S and Lester, EA, Prevalence and socio-demographic predictors of food insecurity in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nutrients, 12, (9) pp. 1-20. ISSN 2072-6643 (2020) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.3390/nu12092682


The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated economic vulnerabilities and disrupted the Australian food supply, with potential implications for food insecurity. This study aims to describe the prevalence and socio-demographic associations of food insecurity in Tasmania, Australia, during the COVID-19 pandemic. A cross-sectional survey (deployed late May to early June 2020) incorporated the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module: Six-Item Short Form, and fifteen demographic and COVID-related income questions. Survey data (n = 1170) were analyzed using univariate and multivariate binary logistic regression. The prevalence of food insecurity was 26%. The adjusted odds of food insecurity were higher among respondents with a disability, from a rural area, and living with dependents. Increasing age, a university education, and income above $80,000/year were protective against food insecurity. Food insecurity more than doubled with a loss of household income above 25% (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR): 2.02; 95% CI: 1.11, 3.71; p = 0.022), and the odds further increased with loss of income above 75% (AOR: 7.14; 95% CI: 2.01, 24.83; p = 0.002). Our results suggest that the prevalence of food insecurity may have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among economically vulnerable households and people who lost income. Policies that support disadvantaged households and ensure adequate employment opportunities are important to support Australians throughout and post the COVID-19 pandemic.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:food insecurity, Australia, COVID-19, food supply
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Nutrition and dietetics
Research Field:Nutrition and dietetics not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Nutrition
UTAS Author:Kent, K (Dr Katherine Kent)
UTAS Author:Murray, S (Ms Sandra Murray)
UTAS Author:Penrose, B (Dr Beth Penrose)
UTAS Author:Auckland, S (Mr Stuart Auckland)
UTAS Author:Visentin, D (Dr Denis Visentin)
UTAS Author:Lester, EA (Professor Libby Lester)
ID Code:140759
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:54
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2020-09-03
Last Modified:2022-09-07
Downloads:26 View Download Statistics

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