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To determine the prevalence and sociodemographic factors associated with food insecurity in the state of New South Wales (NSW), Australia.
Cross-sectional analysis of food insecurity data collected by the NSW Population Health Survey between 2003 and 2014. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine associations with key sociodemographic variables.
212 608 survey participants responded to the food insecurity survey question between 2003 and 2014. 150 767 of them were aged ≥16 years. The survey sample was randomly selected and weighted to be representative of the NSW population.
On average 6 % of adults aged ≥16 years experienced food insecurity in NSW. The odds of food insecurity appeared to increase from one survey year to the next by a factor of 1·05. Food insecurity was found to be independently associated with age, sex, marital status, household size, education, employment status, household income, smoking status, alcohol intake and self-rated health. The association with income, smoking status and self-rated health appeared to be the strongest among all covariates and showed a gradient effect. Food insecurity appeared to increase significantly between the age of 16 and 19 years.
The prevalence of food insecurity appears to be rising over time. Given the negative health consequences of food insecurity, more rigorous measurement and monitoring of food insecurity in NSW and nationally is strongly recommended. The findings provide support for interventions targeting low-income and younger population groups.
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