Journal of Food Security
ISSN (Print): 2372-0115 ISSN (Online): 2372-0107 Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
Journal of Food Security. 2013, 1(2), 10-15
DOI: 10.12691/jfs-1-2-1
Open AccessArticle

The Paradox of Going Hungry when there is So much Food: The Perspective of Vulnerable Youth and Their Caseworkers

Quynh Lê1, , Stuart Auckland1, Hoang Boi Nguyen1, Daniel R Terry1 and Tony Barnett1

1University Department of Rural Health, University of Tasmania, Launceston Tasmania Australia

Pub. Date: July 06, 2013

Cite this paper:
Quynh Lê, Stuart Auckland, Hoang Boi Nguyen, Daniel R Terry and Tony Barnett. The Paradox of Going Hungry when there is So much Food: The Perspective of Vulnerable Youth and Their Caseworkers. Journal of Food Security. 2013; 1(2):10-15. doi: 10.12691/jfs-1-2-1


This study aimed to examine the food security challenges experienced among vulnerable youth in North West Tasmania. An exploratory, descriptive design was used to collect data through face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions with 22 young residents and with five stakeholders and representatives from different community and state organisations. The most significant finding of the study was that a proportion of young residents in the North West Coast of Tasmania were threatened by food insecurity, which was caused by a combination of factors including patterns of food consumption and dietary behaviours. Those with higher financial difficulty due to the lack of a stable job were significantly more vulnerable to food insecurity and faced a higher chance of having health problems. The findings of the project have many implications to improve the food security and lives of vulnerable youth.

food security disadvantaged youth socioeconomic status coping

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Vozoris N, Davis B, Tarasuk V. "The affordability of a nutritious diet for households on welfare in Toronto". Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2002;93(1):36-40.
[2]  Russell DG, Parnell WR, Wilson NC, et al. NZ Food: NZ People. Key Results of the 1997 National Nutrition Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health, 1999.
[3]  Nord M, Andrews M, Carlson S. Measuring Food Security in the United States: Household Food Security in the United States, 2005. Economic Research Report No. 29. Washington, D.C.: USDA Economic Research Service, 2007.
[4]  ABS. National Nutrition Survey: Selected highlights Australia 1995. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1997 Contract No.: Catalogue no. 4802.0.
[5]  PMSEIC. Australia and Food Security in a Changing World. Canberra, Australia: The Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, 2010.
[6]  VicHealth. Food Security Fact Sheet. Melbourne: VicHealth, 2007.
[7]  McCluskey K. Food security in Moreland: A needs assessment. Melbourne: Merri Community Health Services, 2009.
[8]  Burns C. A review of the literature describing the link between poverty, food insecurity and obesity with specific reference to Australia. Victoria: Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, 2004.
[9]  Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia's Health 2010 - The twelfth biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Canberra: Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; 2010 [cited 2011 20 September].
[10]  Meedeniya J, Smith A, Carter P. Food Supply in Rural South Australia: A Survey on Food Cost, Quality and Variety. South Australia: Eat Well SA, 2000.
[11]  Rose D. "Economic determinants and dietary consequences of food insecurity in the United States". Journal of Nutrition. 1999;129:517s-20s.
[12]  Schubert L, Gallegos D, Foley W, Harrison C. "Re-imagining the 'social' in the nutrition sciences". Public Health Nutrition. 2011:f1-8.
[13]  13.Delormier T, Frohlich KL, Potvin L. "Food and eating as social practiceunderstanding eating patterns as social phenomena and implications for public health". Sociology of Health & Illness. 2009;31:215-28.
[14]  Dean WR, Sharkey JR, Johnson CM. "Food insecurity is associated with social capital, perceived personal disparity, and partnership status among older and senior adults in a largely rural area of central Texas". Journal of Nutrition in Gerantology & Geriatrics. 2011;30:169-86.
[15]  Flanagan K. Hard times: Tasmanians in financial crisis. Hobart: Social Action and Research Center, Anglicare Tasmania 2010.
[16]  Madden K. Bread and Board: when the basics break the budget. Hobart: Social Action and Research Centre, Anglicare Tasmania, 2004.
[17]  Madden K, Law M. The Tasmanian community survey: Finacial hardship. Tasmania: Tasmanian Anglicare; 2005.
[18]  Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Remoteness classifications 2011 [cited 8 January 2011].
[19]  DEEWR. Small area labour markets Australia - December quarter 2011 Commonwealth of Australia; 2011 [cited 2012 April 20].
[20]  Neville I. Overview of the North West/Northern Tasmania Priority Employment Area. 2011 [cited 2012 April 20]; Available from:
[21]  ABS. Census of Population and Housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), cat. 2033.0.55.001. 2008 [cited 2012 April 20].
[22]  QRS International. Nvivo 9.0. Melbourne: QRS International Pty Ltd; 2012; Available from:
[23]  Madden K. Blue collared: The shrinking world of work in Tasmania. Hobart: Social Action and Research Centre, Anglicare Tasmania, 2003.
[24]  Cockerham WC. "Health Lifestyle Theory and the Convergence of Agency and Structure". Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 2005;46(1):51-67.
[25]  Bourdieu P. Distinction: A social critique of the judgment of taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 1984.
[26]  Lupton D. "Food, memory and meaning: the symbolic and social nature offood events.". Sociological Review. 1994;42:664-85.
[27]  Locher JL, Yoels WC, Maurer D, Vanells J. "Comfort foods: An exploratory journey into the social and emotional significance of food". Food and Foodways. 2005;13:273-97.