Population-based interventions addressing food insecurity in Australia: A systematic scoping review

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Aim: Food insecurity (FI) is a critical public health issue in Australia. Population-based interventions aiming to address the socio-ecological determinants of FI are critical for relieving and preventing it. This review aimed to map and summarise the characteristics of population-based interventions addressing household and/or community FI in Australia. Methods: A systematic scoping review was undertaken. Five databases, selected for range and relevance to FI in Australia (“CINAHL plus”, “Ovid MEDLINE”, “Sociological Abstracts”, “Australian Public Affairs Information Service”, and “Rural and Remote Health”) were searched in May 2018 using the terms and relevant synonyms “FI” and “interventions”. In addition a systematic grey literature search using multiple Google searches was undertaken. Data synthesis included categorisation and counting intervention type. Interventions were defined and charted by influence of at least one dimension of food security and impact on the socioeconomic, cultural and environmental conditions. Results: A total of 3565 published and grey literature records were identified, with the final 60 records describing 98 interventions. Few national interventions were identified, with approaches predominantly in Victoria, Northern Territory and Tasmania. Determinants related to living and working environments, food availability and food utilisation were most frequently addressed. Interventions addressing the key determinant of FI economic access were limited. A number of interventions did not appear to be associated with rigorous evaluation. Conclusions: While there is evidence of population responses to FI in Australia, the effectiveness of these remains limited. Importantly there is a lack of coordinated and coherent national responses that address the range of FI determinants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-18
Number of pages13
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • food security
  • food supply
  • nutrition
  • public health
  • social determinants of health

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