Australia produces over 90 per cent of its domestic food requirements, including fresh produce. By world standards, Australia is considered food secure. Despite this there are groups of Australians who are food insecure.
Food insecurity occurs when people do not have access to enough affordable, healthy, nutritious food to be well and active.
According to a new report, Food Security and Health in Rural and Remote Australia, the adverse impact of food insecurity is felt most significantly in rural and remote communities and particularly by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
"Food insecurity is an issue of poverty, disadvantage and remoteness," says Rural Industries Research and Development (RIRDC) Managing Director John Harvey. "This report is being released during Anti-Poverty Week and National Nutrition Week 2016, to raise awareness and promote discussion of the effect of food insecurity on health in rural and remote Australia."
Food insecurity has adverse health and social effects across the whole of life, from infancy through to old age. Higher rates of chronic diseases and poor mental health outcomes are caused by food insecurity. It results in lower levels of educational achievement.
Through its National Rural Issues Program, RIRDC produces thought provoking research on issues of national significance for rural Australia. This report has been developed by the National Rural Health Alliance (the Alliance), with the support of RIRDC, to inform government, industry and community leaders of the effect of food insecurity on health in rural and remote Australia. It aims to promote discussion among these stakeholders across a broad range of areas including health and agriculture, to improve initiatives addressing the food security and health of Australians.
The full report can be downloaded for free from https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/items/16-053 and a summary of the research is at https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/items/16-065.
Sarah Vandermark, RIRDC Communications & Public Affairs, ph. 0458 215 604