Food security experiences of aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with young children in an urban setting: Influencing factors and coping strategies

Leisa McCarthy, Anne B. Chang, Julie Brimblecombe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Evidence on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ food security experiences and coping strategies used when food insecurity occurs is limited. Such evidence is important to inform policies that can reduce the consequences of food insecurity. This study investigated factors perceived by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with young children to influence household food security, and coping strategies used, in an urban setting. A qualitative research inductive approach was used. Data were collected through an iterative process of inquiry through initial interviews with 30 primary care-givers, followed by in-depth interviews with six participants to further explore emerging themes. Major topics explored were: influencing factors, food insecurity experiences, impact on food selection, and coping strategies. Food affordability relating to income and living expenses was a major barrier to a healthy diet with large household bills impacting food choice and meal quality. Access to family support was the main reported coping strategy. Food insecurity is experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, it is largely intermittent occurring especially when large household bills are due for payment. Family support provides an essential safety net and the implications of this are important to consider in public policy to address food insecurity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2649
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population
  • Children
  • Coping strategies
  • Experiences
  • Food insecurity
  • Food security
  • Urban

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