An investigation into the prevalence and people’s experience of ‘food poverty’ within Causeway Coast and Glens catchments: Secondary analysis of local authority data

Sinead Furey, Leanne Fegan, Amy Burns, Christopher McLaughlin, Lynsey Hollywood, Pearl Mahon

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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Abstract

Food poverty is defined as the inability to afford or access a healthy diet and is becoming recognised as a public health emergency. This research involved secondary analysis of a Causeway Coast and Glens (CCAG)-sponsored household questionnaire data (N=362) to determine the affordability and accessibility of food, and the social impacts of food poverty. In addition, data were analysed to understand if particular catchments reported different experiences and appetites for local authority intervention to help overcome food poverty. Findings concluded that food poverty has reached a concerning level within the CCAG Borough, with affordability and accessibility proving important points of concern. Two in five (41%) respondents reported being unable to comfortably feed themselves and their families three meals per day all of the time, and three in ten (31%) reported being forced to make a choice between food and other essentials. More than half of the respondents (54%) reported some anxiety about whether their budget would fulfil their food needs.An important minority (13% – 40%) cited their inability to afford social activities that their peers may take for granted. This sense of being socially excluded from both low-cost, routine to more expensive, occasional activities is worrying given how social inclusivity contributes to quality of life. Respondents indicated support for various local authority-organised activities including quality, local food and cookery demonstrations to help overcome the negative repercussions of food poverty. Policy makers and practitioners should consider these perspectives in devising evidence-informed and meaningfully-targeted interventions, while efforts must be ongoing to address the structural causes of food poverty for a truly sustainable solution.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUnknown Publisher
Number of pages20
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • Food poverty
  • Northern Ireland
  • Social Exclusion
  • Affordability
  • Accessibility

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