Food for all: Improving household food and nutrition security 

Dr Rebecca Lindberg is developing a comprehensive package of policy measures to reduce the number of Australians living without access to affordable nutritious food.

In Australia, about 13 per cent of the population is estimated to be food insecure, or without adequate access to affordable nutritious food.

Through a Dean’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Dr Rebecca Lindberg is aiming to tackle food insecurity by developing a comprehensive framework of evidence-informed public policy measures.

“Food insecurity can have life-long consequences for a person’s physical and mental health,” Dr Lindberg said.

“Existing policies are narrow and ineffective. Despite millions invested in foodbanks across the country, the number of food insecure people in Australia has remained stubbornly persistent.  

“A new policy framework is needed to demonstrate what works to directly improve the diets and food environments of low socio-economic children and adults – to transform lives and build nutritious futures.”

Dr Lindberg is planning several studies as part of her Fellowship.

“My first study, already underway, compares and contrasts the USA and Australia’s different policy approaches to the same public health nutrition issue,” she said.

“I have also conducted interviews to explore the lived experience of food insecurity in families and their usage of program and policy supports in both the USA and Australia.”

In her second study, she will establish the first measure of diet quality in food insecure Australians using the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey.

In a planned systematic review, Dr Lindberg will synthesise the highest quality evidence available on policy measures that promote food and nutrition security and/or reduce the prevalence and severity of household food insecurity.

Dr Lindberg plans to use the findings from her studies to develop a framework of policy interventions, case studies and community perspectives as a public toolkit for food security action and accountability.

“The framework will include interventions that enable better models of care and services to address food insecurity and improve outcomes, particularly targeted towards reducing disparities,” Dr Lindberg said.

“Policy-makers, nutrition and food organisations will have input into the tool kit design, increasing the likelihood of its use, visibility and trustworthiness and therefore genuinely improving nutritional outcomes for more households.”