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To examine the associations between financial, physical and transport conditions that may restrict food access (which we define as food security indicators) and the purchase of fast foods and nutritious staples such as bread and milk.
Multilevel logistic and multinomial regression analysis of cross-sectional survey data to assess associations between the three indicators of food insecurity and household food shopping adjusted for sociodemographic and socio-economic variables.
Random selection of households (n 3995) from fifty Census Collector Districts in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003.
The main food shoppers in each household (n 2564).
After adjustment for confounders, analysis showed that a greater likelihood of purchasing chain-brand fast food on a weekly basis compared with never was associated with running out of money to buy food (OR = 1·59; 95 % CI 1·08, 2·34) and reporting difficulties lifting groceries (OR = 1·77; 95 % CI 1·23, 2·54). Respondents without regular access to a car to do food shopping were less likely to purchase bread types considered more nutritious than white bread (OR = 0·75; 95 % CI 0·59, 0·95) and milk types considered more nutritious than full-cream milk (OR = 0·62; 95 % CI 0·47, 0·81). The food insecurity indicators were not associated with the purchasing of fruits, vegetables or non-chain fast food.
Householders experiencing financial and physical barriers were more likely to frequently purchase chain fast foods while limited access to a car resulted in a lower likelihood that the nutritious options were purchased for two core food items (bread and milk). Policies and interventions that improve financial access to food and lessen the effect of physical limitations to carrying groceries may reduce the purchasing of fast foods. Further research is required on food sourcing and dietary quality among those with food access restrictions.
To describe associations between demographic and individual and area-level socio-economic variables and restricted household food access due to lack of money, inability to lift groceries and lack of access to a car to do food shopping.
Multilevel study of three measures of restricted food access, i.e. running out of money to buy food, inability to lift groceries and lack of access to a car for food shopping. Multilevel logistic regression was conducted to examine the risk of each of these outcomes according to demographic and socio-economic variables.
Random selection of households from fifty small areas in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003.
The main food shoppers in each household (n 2564).
A lack of money was significantly more likely among the young and in households with single adults. Difficultly lifting was more likely among the elderly and those born overseas. The youngest and highest age groups both reported reduced car access, as did those born overseas and single-adult households. All three factors were most likely among those with a lower individual or household socio-economic position. Increased levels of area disadvantage were independently associated with difficultly lifting and reduced car access.
In Melbourne, households with lower individual socio-economic position and area disadvantage have restricted access to food because of a lack of money and/or having physical limitations due difficulty lifting or lack of access to a car for food shopping. Further research is required to explore the relationship between physical restrictions and food access.
The present study examined the association between area socio-economic status (SES) and food purchasing behaviour.
Data were collected by mail survey (64·2 % response rate). Area SES was indicated by the proportion of households in each area earning less than $AUS 400 per week, and individual-level socio-economic position was measured using education, occupation and household income. Food purchasing was measured on the basis of compliance with dietary guideline recommendations (for grocery foods) and variety of fruit and vegetable purchase. Multilevel regression analysis examined the association between area SES and food purchase after adjustment for individual-level demographic (age, sex, household composition) and socio-economic factors.
Melbourne city, Australia, 2003.
Residents of 2564 households located in fifty small areas.
Residents of low-SES areas were significantly less likely than their counterparts in advantaged areas to purchase grocery foods that were high in fibre and low in fat, salt and sugar; and they purchased a smaller variety of fruits. There was no evidence of an association between area SES and vegetable variety.
In Melbourne, area SES was associated with some food purchasing behaviours independent of individual-level factors, suggesting that areas in this city may be differentiated on the basis of food availability, accessibility and affordability, making the purchase of some types of foods more difficult in disadvantaged areas.
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