Limits...
The impact of drought on the association between food security and mental health in a nationally representative Australian sample.

Friel S, Berry H, Dinh H, O'Brien L, Walls HL - BMC Public Health (2014)

Bottom Line: People who consumed below-average levels of core foods reported more distress than those who consumed above the average level, while people consuming discretionary foods above the average level reported greater distress than those consuming below the threshold.Exposure to drought moderates the association between measures of food insecurity and psychological distress, generally increasing the distress level.Climate adaptation strategies that consider social, nutrition and health impacts are needed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Regulatory Institutions Network, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Sharon.friel@anu.edu.au.

ABSTRACT

Background: The association between food insecurity and mental health is established. Increasingly, associations between drought and mental health and drought and food insecurity have been observed in a number of countries. The impact of drought on the association between food insecurity and mental health has received little attention.

Methods: Population-based study using data from a nationally representative panel survey of Australian adults in which participants report behaviour, health, social, economic and demographic information annually. Exposure to drought was modelled using annual rainfall data during Australia's 'Big Dry'. Regression modelling examined associations between drought and three indicative measures of food insecurity and mental health, controlling for confounding factors.

Results: People who reported missing meals due to financial stress reported borderline moderate/high distress levels. People who consumed below-average levels of core foods reported more distress than those who consumed above the average level, while people consuming discretionary foods above the average level reported greater distress than those consuming below the threshold. In all drought exposure categories, people missing meals due to cost reported higher psychological distress than those not missing meals. Compared to drought-unadjusted psychological distress levels, in most drought categories, people consuming higher-than-average discretionary food levels reported higher levels of distress.

Conclusions: Exposure to drought moderates the association between measures of food insecurity and psychological distress, generally increasing the distress level. Climate adaptation strategies that consider social, nutrition and health impacts are needed.

Show MeSH

Related in: MedlinePlus

Conceptualisation of food-related pathways from drought exposure to mental health.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4288639&req=5

Fig1: Conceptualisation of food-related pathways from drought exposure to mental health.

Mentions: While the links between exposure to drought and food insecurity, and drought and mental health have been made in the literature, we are unaware of any studies that have explored the association between drought exposure, food security and mental health. This study will address this knowledge gap by examining the associations between indicative measures of food security and mental health in Australia during the last great drought, and exploring whether these associations are sensitive to levels of drought exposure across urban and rural locations.Figure 1 describes our hypothesized food-related pathways from drought exposure to mental health outcomes. These pathways are based on the existing literature and variables available in the main dataset used in the analysis. We hypothesize that the long dry in Australia has reduced local agricultural productivity and the viability of agricultural support industries. The knock-on effects of this has been, we hypothesize, a reduction in agricultural yields and therefore household income and increased food prices. These impacts have affected household purchasing patterns due to changes in the volume and types of food available for consumption and also the relative affordability of different foods. In some instances the impact on households’ income from the drought pressures will have meant missing meals due to cost. The impacts therefore on mental health arise from potential negative effects on food habits and nutrition, and from the acute and chronic stress of having to miss meals due to not having enough money (due to food price increases and/or reductions in household income).Figure 1


The impact of drought on the association between food security and mental health in a nationally representative Australian sample.

Friel S, Berry H, Dinh H, O'Brien L, Walls HL - BMC Public Health (2014)

Conceptualisation of food-related pathways from drought exposure to mental health.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4288639&req=5

Fig1: Conceptualisation of food-related pathways from drought exposure to mental health.
Mentions: While the links between exposure to drought and food insecurity, and drought and mental health have been made in the literature, we are unaware of any studies that have explored the association between drought exposure, food security and mental health. This study will address this knowledge gap by examining the associations between indicative measures of food security and mental health in Australia during the last great drought, and exploring whether these associations are sensitive to levels of drought exposure across urban and rural locations.Figure 1 describes our hypothesized food-related pathways from drought exposure to mental health outcomes. These pathways are based on the existing literature and variables available in the main dataset used in the analysis. We hypothesize that the long dry in Australia has reduced local agricultural productivity and the viability of agricultural support industries. The knock-on effects of this has been, we hypothesize, a reduction in agricultural yields and therefore household income and increased food prices. These impacts have affected household purchasing patterns due to changes in the volume and types of food available for consumption and also the relative affordability of different foods. In some instances the impact on households’ income from the drought pressures will have meant missing meals due to cost. The impacts therefore on mental health arise from potential negative effects on food habits and nutrition, and from the acute and chronic stress of having to miss meals due to not having enough money (due to food price increases and/or reductions in household income).Figure 1

Bottom Line: People who consumed below-average levels of core foods reported more distress than those who consumed above the average level, while people consuming discretionary foods above the average level reported greater distress than those consuming below the threshold.Exposure to drought moderates the association between measures of food insecurity and psychological distress, generally increasing the distress level.Climate adaptation strategies that consider social, nutrition and health impacts are needed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Regulatory Institutions Network, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Sharon.friel@anu.edu.au.

ABSTRACT

Background: The association between food insecurity and mental health is established. Increasingly, associations between drought and mental health and drought and food insecurity have been observed in a number of countries. The impact of drought on the association between food insecurity and mental health has received little attention.

Methods: Population-based study using data from a nationally representative panel survey of Australian adults in which participants report behaviour, health, social, economic and demographic information annually. Exposure to drought was modelled using annual rainfall data during Australia's 'Big Dry'. Regression modelling examined associations between drought and three indicative measures of food insecurity and mental health, controlling for confounding factors.

Results: People who reported missing meals due to financial stress reported borderline moderate/high distress levels. People who consumed below-average levels of core foods reported more distress than those who consumed above the average level, while people consuming discretionary foods above the average level reported greater distress than those consuming below the threshold. In all drought exposure categories, people missing meals due to cost reported higher psychological distress than those not missing meals. Compared to drought-unadjusted psychological distress levels, in most drought categories, people consuming higher-than-average discretionary food levels reported higher levels of distress.

Conclusions: Exposure to drought moderates the association between measures of food insecurity and psychological distress, generally increasing the distress level. Climate adaptation strategies that consider social, nutrition and health impacts are needed.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus