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Still there's no food! Food insecurity in a refugee population in Perth, Western Australia

Gallegos, D., Ellies, P. and Wright, J. (2008) Still there's no food! Food insecurity in a refugee population in Perth, Western Australia. Nutrition & Dietetics, 65 (1). pp. 78-83.

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Aim:  To identify food insecurity and examine its association with socio-demographic factors in a group of newly arrived refugees.

Methods:  Structured questionnaire based around the same question asked during the National Nutrition Survey (1995). The questionnaire was administered to a service-based sample of clients accessing early intervention services. Fifty-one individuals who were newly arrived refugees, resident in Australia for less than 12 months and who were receiving torture and trauma counselling.

Results:  Thirty-six individuals (71% of sample) reported running out of food. This percentage was much greater than the 5.2% recorded across all social and economic groups in the 1995 National Nutrition Survey. The most common reasons for running out of food were related to large household bills, late welfare payments, poor household skills, sending money ‘home’, transport issues and poor budgeting skills.

Conclusion:  Food insecurity in refugees in Perth, Western Australia is comparable to the rates of food insecurity found in this population in other parts of the developed world. There are, however, significant ramifications for the development of intervention strategies as well as policy implications. For refugees, focusing on community food security strategies will assist in building community capacity, facilitate the retention of cultural integrity, restore and maintain dignity, and will be instrumental in ensuring both short- and long-term health.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Social and Community Research
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: 2008 The Authors
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