Food insecurity defines a condition to which constant access to enough food is limited due to lack of resources such as money within a given period (Bell et al., 2015). Therefore, an individual or people may not live active as well as healthy life or have the conviction of obtaining food in a socially acceptable process. Statistic of on food insecurity in Sydney reports that one in every fifty older people experienced food insecurity within a period of twelve months (Booth and Whelan, 2014). Additionally, more than one-third of the women with children in Sydney experienced a shortage of enough food due to difficulties they experience in meeting daily expenses such as food (Crawford et al., 2014). Similarly, of the individuals reviewed around localities of Sydney, about twenty-eight percent reported the purchase of low quality of food in a bid to save money (Ingram, Ericksen and Liverman, 2012). Individuals within a society may experience food insecurity due to lack of one, resources such as money and access to transport. Two, inability to access affordable, nutritious foods. Three, failure to access food due to geographical isolation and lastly, lack of any knowledge about the existence of nutritious diet in a locality.
Food insecurity caused by the cost of food as well as household income is of interest to this study (Bell et al., 2015). Sydney is a town and a business hub located at the harbors of New South Wales, Australia. The harbor is accessible to most of the merchants hence food availability is ensured. A scenario arises that leads to the target group experiencing food insecurity (Booth and Whelan, 2014). Therefore, it is due to cost of the food and household low-income that majorly contributes to food insecurity among the target group.
The beneficiaries as well the target group to this study are the people from low-income households of Sydney’s family. The children are from the low income earning households require to be sent to school, feed, clothed and their medical bill met time after time. Therefore, this study aims to provide the target group with strategies and solutions to address their inability to afford enough to eat and meet other bills.
Public Health Nutrition Consideration
Currently, food insecurity is categorized among the social determinants of health which has time and again compromised the health of the children from the low-income children in Sydney’s local households (Bell et al., 2015). The low-income earners often have little food and sometimes unbalanced diet for their children. Studies reveal that food insecurity often exposes the children to clinical conditions including their parents (Farahbakhsh et al., 2016). With the low-income neighborhood, due to their economic status lack farmers’ market and groceries to which the residents can purchase varieties of quality dairy products, vegetables and other foodstuffs (Stirling, 2014). The low-income neighborhoods, therefore, possess limited corner stores where food products of low nutritious value can be purchased if available to feed the children and other families (Watts, Thorpe and Blechynden, 2015). The low nutritious value food products, therefore, lead to unbalanced diets hence malnutrition cases to the children from the low-income neighborhoods in Sydney.
Similarly, in the case healthy foods are available, the low-income households due to lack of enough capital may not afford such foods since they are expensive (Stirling, 2014). Research points that most of the low-income households would try stretching their food budget with an aim of purchasing cheap food staff. Therefore, the less expensive food is linked to the energy giving food often less nutritious (Crawford et al., 2014). Through overconsumption of the calories forms the energy foods, such households are linked to obesity which is a major public health concern among the low-income household not only in Sydney but also across the globe.
Besides, in the absence of food in the low-income households, studies show that such people may incur cycles of food deprivation as well as overeating (Booth and Whelan, 2014). Skipping meals by the low-income individuals may encourage them to purchase much food when money is available thereby resulting to chronic upsets of the body systems hence leading to weight gain (Crawford et al., 2014). Additionally, deprivation of food has been medically linked to cases of eating disorders, metabolic changes as well as an unhealthy preoccupation with food which often leads to fat storage.
Studies also report that scarcity of food among the low-income households often live in anxiety coupled with stress leading to poor mental health (Ghattas et al., 2013). Anxieties often result from emotional pressure of food insecurity and their financial position. With limited financial access, the low-income household members may not access better health care provisions hence increasing incidences of depression and stress by such individuals (Stirling, 2014). Studies also link stress to poor mental development to children and obesity. Children also suffer deficiency diseases during their development such as kwashiorkor, rickets and marasmus among others.
Addressing Food Insecurity
- Community food security program
The program is designed to enable all householders to acquire safe and adequate nutrition in a socially acceptable way to improve their nutritional status. The aim of this program is to achieve food sustainability as well as social justice (Stirling, 2014). Under sustainability, the program embarks on promoting sustainable agricultural practices such as use of organic materials which are cheap and affordable to the low-income earners in Sydney (Booth and Whelan, 2014). The programs also aim at developing and promoting an active marketing channels hence the consumers, as well as farmers in such localities, does not travel a longer distance to acquire foodstuff or sell their products in distant marketplaces (Smith and Blumenthal, 2012).
Social justice according to this program refers to factors that promote injustices of hunger as well as food insecurity within a country (Crawford et al., 2014). Alternatively, social justice lack of adequate wages to individuals whose lives depends on agriculture. Therefore, farmers, farm workers, food service workers as well as food processing workers should receive enough wages to meet their household’s nutritional needs (Booth and Whelan, 2014). Therefore, this program in conjunction with the federal government will plan and to initiate sustainable agriculture to the low-income people as well as fund the farmers to begin farm practice.
The limitation of this program is that it may take some time before actualization since the government has to get ready to fund the process (Smith and Blumenthal, 2012). Land allocation to groups of people for farming activity is equally a process that must be pursued with accuracy and consideration. Also, mobilization of the low-income households to participate in Community food security program may not be an easy process.
- Community Health Program
Community health program set up at the localities of low-income household will be a milestone in solving the nutritional problems to the residents (Smith and Blumenthal, 2012). The program aims at equipping people with skills as well as increasing the commitment of community stakeholder and leaders to establish and pursue promotional programs that help the people to make healthy choices in their houses, surroundings and areas of work (Ghattas et al., 2013). Key components of this program are healthy eating and physical activity. Therefore, the establishment of public health facilities is of the essence to enable the caregivers to provide elaborate health based programs to the participants (Crawford et al., 2014). The Community health program will devise strategies to inform and educate the locals on the required eating habits and physical activities (Watts, Thorpe and Blechynden, 2015). Additionally, the learning institutions will be integrated to accommodate most health issues affecting the areas residents to their curriculum to help the children adopt good healthy eating habits to eradicate instance of obesity.
A limitation of this program will be acquiring the resources by the organizers to establish public health facilities in the low-income areas as well as mobilization of the entire community to engage in the new process (Gichunge et al., 2015). Also, Community health program would require the low-income households to adopt to the rules and regulations developed by the public health caregivers (Stirling, 2014). Change is known to be gradual hence other people the program schedule may choose to ignore change brought about by the Community health program.
Establishment of Educational and Community-Based strategy is meant to develop plans to prevent disease, injuries as well as improve health among the low-income households thus ensuring quality life (Smith and Blumenthal, 2012).
The educational and community-based program strategy is founded on fundamental principle (Stirling, 2014). One, enhance quality of life by engaging the community in food generation and healthy consumption of food. Two, improve health by providing the low-income households with skills to make healthy choose on their diet (Jones et al., 2013). Three, prevent diseases and injury among the people through the establish healthcare system. Despite the fact that food insecurity is a threat to the health of individuals, household and entire community, will use available resources resource such as land, capital and labor to produce enough food for the people. Additionally, this strategy will pursue a better health system through the educational and community-based program.
How The Strategy Works
Under the umbrella of educational and community-based strategy, the three activities will be pursued as follows (Jones et al., 2013). Different educational set ups would be established such as schools, health care facilities and community farmlands. The schools would be for the young people where healthy eating habits are taught (Lawrence, Richards and Lyons, 2013). Bad eating habits adopted by the young in low-income households often leads to obesity and other nutritional condition. The learners gain the skills of making informed choices about their diets and what they consume.
The community farmlands, on the other hand, would ensure that the low-income households combine resources to engage in communal food production activities (Watts, Thorpe and Blechynden, 2015). Others can provide labor, capital and other inputs as the program organizers supplement them. The organizers under the professionals guide each group on the chosen agricultural activities. Others may choose to produce rice, vegetables as others rear birds and fish (Smith and Blumenthal, 2012). At some point, the firm products would be mature to be harvested, and consumed and surplus sold to earn income. With enough food to be consumed the low-income households will not suffer food-related disorders hence food security.
Health facilities under this strategy will be established to ensure that the low-income households have access better healthcare irrespective of economic status or cultural and ethnic backgrounds (Smith and Blumenthal, 2012). The sick among the low-income households will acquire health assistance to them hence keep healthy to work in improving their economic conditions in ensuring that food availability to their children (Gichunge et al., 2015). From time to time, the health caregivers would be required to carry out public education to the low-income households on the skills for choosing better diets and managing their nutritional programs to prevent further nutritional conditions.
One strength of the educational and community-based strategy is that it covers a wider perspective of the community (Smith and Blumenthal, 2012). The program addresses economic conditions of the low-income households that ensure food security and sustainability. The health programs and established health facilities ensures that the entire families are attended to, and their health conditions addressed (Gichunge et al., 2015). The households’ nutritional requirements and programs are equally addressed, and the nutritional diseases are eradicated as well with time.
Seconds, both the young and the adults will gain from the strategy since it accommodates the entire households (Herbert et al., 2014). Everyone from the households is cared for and helped to make chose on the food materials they consume to avoid nutritional disorders early in life.
Acknowledging the programs by the low-income households is a likely challenge to the program organizers (Herbert et al., 2014). The participants are people with different goals in life, therefore getting them to conform to a single goal would be a greater challenge.
Also, the federal government would be slow at financing such good intended approaches to solving food insecurity (Jones et al., 2013). The government processes are often slow as various channels to achieve the actual funding takes time. Therefore, with little capital the program organizers may be unable to accomplish the entire process.
Finally, the entire program may be hindered in the case of natural disasters such as drought which may lead to failure of the agricultural activities aimed at achieving food security.
Food insecurity among the low-income households is a current problem in Sydney, Australia. Food insecurity may be caused by inability to access affordable, nutritious foods, failure to access food due to geographical isolation and lastly, lack of any knowledge about the existence of nutritious diet in a locality. Therefore, educational and community-based strategy would be of importance since it addresses both knowledge and health skill required by the low-income households to acquire enough food and access better healthcare at the same time. This strategy upon development will be a success to ensure food security among the low-income households in Sydney, Australia.