Food and Nutrition Insecurity: Challenging Australian Families and Communities Rebecca McKechnie and Danielle Gallegos Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies Conference, Sydney 2014 S Defining food and nutrition security Food and nutrition security exists when all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to food, which is safe and consumed in sufficient quantity and quality to meet their dietary needs and food preferences, and is supported by an environment of adequate sanitation, health services and care, allowing for a healthy and active life.” (Committee on World Food Security, FAO 2012) Nutrition security S Not just about household insufficiency S Increased availability of cheap easily accessible poor quality foods creates a normative culture of unhealthy diets S Polarises high value foods for the rich and low value foods for the poor (Dowler and O’Connor 2012) © Danielle Gallegos Are Australians food secure? Food security status - ABS NHS 5% Food insecure Food secure 95% S National Health Survey S Single item: “In the past 12 months, have you or anyone in your household run out of food and not had enough money to purchase more” S Consistently reports a food insecurity prevalence of 5% 884, 000 Australian households potentially experience food insecurity in any given year. Are Australians food secure? S Adapted USDA FSSM tool S 25% prevalence: disadvantaged households Sydney (Nolan et al 2006); Brisbane (Ramsey et al 2012); tertiary students (Gallegos et al 2013). Food insecurity among disadvantaged areas of Brisbane Food secure Low food security Very low food security Very low food security among children -Insufficient transport - Household structure - Residential location Food insecurity -Low income/ poverty - SEP -Ethnicity/ immigration - Age -Food skills -Marital status -Decreased social capital - Depression/ anxiety -Insufficient access to nutritious/ culturally acceptable food - Insufficient access to shops containing food -Inability to obtain food in socially acceptable ways - Increased consumption energy dense convenience foods - Skipping meals/ periods of fasting (often followed by periods of binging) - Overweight/ obesity -Decreased consumption core foods - Decrease in variety of foods - Decrease in portion sizes -Inadequate intake corefood groups -Inadequate nutrient intakes - Irregular growth/ development -Poor academic achievement -Behavioral problems -Development of chronic/ diet-related disease -Poor general health - Increased visits to doctor/ hospital Food insecurity among Australian households with children 16.2 4.76 S Households with a parent born outside Australia 60% less likely to be food insecure S Households with unemployed parent over 3 x more likely to be food insecure S Single parent with children 89% more likely to be food insecure Food insecurity among Australian households with children S Children from food insecure 8.43 households: S 3 x more likely to display atypical emotions & behaviours S 2 – 4 times more likely to display borderline/ atypical hyperactivity tendencies S 2 x more likely to display borderline pro-social behaviour 3.42 What are we doing about it? S Systemic failure S Unmet food needs are hidden S Ongoing state reliance on non- government agencies to feed the people S Reliance on mechanisms that redistribute food openly encouraged Questions to ask? Are most Australians food secure? Do most Australians have access to affordable healthy food options? Is the income safety net adequate to meet needs? Is it just about making sure individuals have more information? Who should be responsible for ensuring ALL Australians get a decent feed on a regular basis? Healthy foods are more expensive than less healthy choices S Healthy Food Access Basket S Prices of healthy foods have increased more than unhealthy foods S In QLD cost of the HFAB rose 50% from 1998-2006-cf CPI 32.5% (Harrison et al 2010) S In NSW prices of vegetables, fruits and extra foods rose 55.7%, 47.2% and 22.7% respectively (Williams et al 2009) S Energy dense, low-nutrient foods cost less than nutrient rich foods; (Landrigan and Pollard, 2012; Brimblecombe and O’Dea 2009). Retrograde step – GST on fresh food “An independent think tank says it has come up with a package of reforms that could add around $37 billion a year to the bottom line of Australian government budgets. The package includes broadening the GST net to include fresh food and private spending on health and education, as well as a lifting of the age at which Australians can access their pension or superannuation to 70.” ABC News 25 November 2013 Affordability decreases for those on lower incomes S 20-40% of income is spent on a diet consistent with the Australian “My food has disappeared Dietary Guidelines for a budget range of different family types (Lee et al 2011) My son’s health is affected S S Cheap food, For welfare dependent families a healthy diet costs a minimum of 40% Carbohydrates, of disposable income (Givoni and Palermo, 2010; Kettings et al 2009) You get fat. No vegetables in nearly A typical family on welfare support in Adelaide needs to spend 33% of their household income toACOSS, purchase an2013 adequate healthy diet 3 weeks” compared to 9% in families on higher incomes (Wong et al 2011) No one in Australia should go without: A decent and secure home Secure locks on doors and windows Roof and gutters that do not leak Furniture in reasonable condition Two Washing parent family/two machine children Heating in at least one room of the house Spendsand approx $292for on cold foodperiods Warm clothes bedding Insurance – home contents BASIC STANDARD A substantial meal at OF leastLIVING once a day TV Computer skills Telephone Insurance – car comprehensive Up to $500 emergency savings Regular social contact Unemployed single One weeks holiday away each year Spends approx $78 on Single parent two Presents for family and friends children food Spends approx $180 on Medical treatment when required Prescription medications food Dental treatment Separate bed fortwo each child Single parent children Booksif and new clothes for school move from parenting QCOSS, Nov 2013 payment to Newstart +$88 -$11 -$22 -$139 Australia’s food safety net http://sydney.edu.au/news/staff/2576.html?newsstoryid=7573 S Australia has indicated that unlike other countries welfare payments are adequate to provide food S Primary reason for using ER is for food S ER agencies report increasing use and increased number of repeat visits S Volunteer staff S Increased staff turnover S Inadequate funding S Criteria for use S Does this meet the criteria for maintaining human dignity? The alternative……. individualised responses S Budgeting skills S Education S Cooking skills S Community gardens/grow your own Like I went to the (youth service) class, they were making muffins and I was like, “excuse me, I don’t have an oven, right, this has like 11 ingredients in it, right, and I don’t have an oven or a cake tray or like, what’s wrong with you? Why are (you) teaching homeless people how to make muffins right?” (Vidgen, 2013) http://money.msn.com/how-to-budget/how-to-cut-your-food-budget-in-half Where to from here? http://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/aug/24/john-howard-davies-obituary What do we plan to do to significantly reduce food insecurity. We reject the argument that people are to blame for their food insecurity. Or that food insecurity will decrease simply by making the economy stronger. FAO 2008 Utilisation Stability Access Availability Food Security Acknowledgement of needs FAO 2008 Rule of law Transparency Participation Non-discrimination Empowerment Accountability Human dignity Utilisation Stability Access Availability A rights-based approach to food security Right to adequate food Acknowledgement of human rights An anti-poverty strategy that incorporates a food safety net that encompasses quality and quantity of food at affordable prices No GST on fresh food from core food groups Increase the NewStart allowance by $50 a week A systematic policy response to food price monitoring and modelling in relation to minimum wages and remoteness Recognition of the minimum wage required in order to meet household needs including accessing a diet conducive to health Sensitive, regular national monitoring of food security A change of focus from education to environments in recognition that price and access are powerful motivators of consumption Stop thinking of food security as just about production at the national level – start thinking of it across the four pillars with health and wellbeing as a central tenet across households and communities References Australian Council of Social Services. Back to Basics: Simplifying Australia's Family Payments System to Tackle Child Poverty. Sydney, Australia: ACOSS, 2013. Brimblecombe JK, O'Dea K. The role of energy cost in food choices for an Aboriginal population in northern Australia. Medical Journal of Australia. 2009;190(10):549-51. Committee on World Food Security. 2012. Coming to Terms with Terminology: Food Security, Nutrition Security, Food Security and Nutrition, Food and Nutrition Security Rome, Italy: Food and Agricultural Organisation, 2012. Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry. National Food Plan: Our Food Future. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia 2013. Dowler EA, O’Connor D. Rights-based approaches to addressing food poverty and food insecurity in Ireland and UK. Social Science & Medicine. 2012;74(1):44-51. Food and Agricultural Organisation. Methods to Monitor the Human Right to Adequate Food: Volume II An Overview of Approaches and Tools. Rome: FAO 2008. 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