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The new normal for food insecurity? A repeated cross-sectional survey over 1 year during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia


Kent, K and Murray, S and Penrose, B and Auckland, S and Horton, E and Lester, E and Visentin, D, The new normal for food insecurity? A repeated cross-sectional survey over 1 year during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 19 Article 115. ISSN 1479-5868 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2022. The Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1186/s12966-022-01347-4


Background: Food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic has been impacted by necessary public health restrictions. Tasmania, an island state south of the Australian mainland, recorded no community transmission of COVID-19 between May 2020 to November 2021 due to strong border restrictions. This study aimed to determine the changes in prevalence and sociodemographic predictors of food insecurity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in Tasmania, Australia.

Methods: In May 2020 (survey 1: during lockdown), September 2020 (survey 2: eased restrictions) and May 2021 (survey 3: 1-year post-lockdown), cross-sectional, online surveys using convenience sampling methods determined food insecurity in Tasmanian adults using the USDA Household Food Security Survey Module: Six-Item Short Form, in addition to key sociodemographic questions. Crude and age-adjusted prevalence of food insecurity was calculated, and binary logistic regression determined at-risk groups and changes in prevalence over time.

Results: The age-adjusted prevalence of food insecurity was 27.9% during lockdown (n = 1168), 19.5% when restrictions had eased (n = 1097) and 22.6% 1-year post-lockdown (n = 1100). Young adults, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, individuals with disabilities, families with dependents and temporary residents were at highest risk across all time points.

Conclusions: The prevalence of food insecurity was higher than pre-pandemic levels across all three time points. Our results indicate the potential long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security in Australia, where despite easing social distancing restrictions and a lack of COVID-19 transmission, the prevalence of food insecurity reduced, but did not recover to pre-pandemic levels 1-year following a lockdown.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:food security, food access, food supply, COVID-19
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Nutrition and dietetics
Research Field:Public health nutrition
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:Horton, E (Ms Ella Horton)
UTAS Author:Lester, E (Professor Libby Lester)
UTAS Author:Visentin, D (Dr Denis Visentin)
ID Code:153119
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2022-09-07
Last Modified:2022-11-21
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