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Who uses foodbanks and why? Exploring the impact of financial strain and adverse life events on food insecurity

Prayogo, E; Chater, A; Chapman, S; Barker, M; Rahmawati, D; Waterfall, T; Grimble, G; (2018) Who uses foodbanks and why? Exploring the impact of financial strain and adverse life events on food insecurity. Journal of Public Health , 40 (4) pp. 676-683. 10.1093/pubmed/fdx133. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Rising use of foodbanks highlights food insecurity in the UK. Adverse life events (e.g. unemployment, benefit delays or sanctions) and financial strains are thought to be the drivers of foodbank use. This research aimed to explore who uses foodbanks, and factors associated with increased food insecurity. METHODS: We surveyed those seeking help from front line crisis providers from foodbanks (N = 270) and a comparison group from Advice Centres (ACs) (N = 245) in relation to demographics, adverse life events, financial strain and household food security. RESULTS: About 55.9% of foodbank users were women and the majority were in receipt of benefits (64.8%). Benefit delays (31.9%), changes (11.1%) and low income (19.6%) were the most common reasons given for referral. Compared to AC users, there were more foodbank users who were single men without children, unemployed, currently homeless, experiencing more financial strain and adverse life events (P = 0.001). Food insecurity was high in both populations, and more severe if they also reported financial strain and adverse life events. CONCLUSIONS: Benefit-related problems appear to be a key reason for foodbank referral. By comparison with other disadvantaged groups, foodbank users experienced more financial strain, adverse life events, both increased the severity of food insecurity.

Type: Article
Title: Who uses foodbanks and why? Exploring the impact of financial strain and adverse life events on food insecurity
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdx133
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdx133
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Food and nutrition, Poverty, Socioeconomic factors
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy > Practice and Policy
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Department of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10037687
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