Using Cross-Sectional Data to Identify and Quantify the Relative Importance of Factors Associated with and Leading to Food Insecurity
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Australian governments routinely monitor population household food insecurity (FI) using a single measure-'running out of food at least once in the previous year'. To better inform public health planning, a synthesis of the determinants and how they influence and modify each other in relation to FI was conducted. The analysis used data from the Health & Wellbeing Surveillance System cross-sectional dataset. Weighted means and multivariable weighted logistic regression described and modelled factors involved in FI. The analysis showed the direction and strength of the factors and a path diagram was constructed to illustrate these. The results showed that perceived income, independent of actual income was a strong mediator on the path to FI as were obesity, smoking and other indicators of health status. Eating out three or more times a week and eating no vegetables more strongly followed FI than preceded it. The analysis identified a range of factors and demonstrated the complex and interactive nature of them. Further analysis using propensity score weighted methods to control for covariates identified hypothetical causal links for investigation. These results can be used as a proof of concept to assist public health planning.
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