How Do Disadvantaged Children Perceive, Understand and Experience Household Food Insecurity?

Food insecurity is associated with reduced physical, social, and psychological functioning in children. There has been sparse research into child food insecurity that incorporates children’s own perspectives, as adults are often interviewed as child proxies. While a nuanced, child-centred understand...

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Main Authors: Stefania Velardo, Christina M. Pollard, Jessica Shipman, Sue Booth
Format: Article
Language:English
Published: MDPI AG 2021-04-01
Series:International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Subjects:
Online Access:https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/8/4039
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spelling doaj-c4ab2ff98b704301989777b6351cb06f2021-04-12T23:02:52ZengMDPI AGInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health1661-78271660-46012021-04-01184039403910.3390/ijerph18084039How Do Disadvantaged Children Perceive, Understand and Experience Household Food Insecurity?Stefania Velardo0Christina M. Pollard1Jessica Shipman2Sue Booth3College of Education, Psychology & Social Work, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, AustraliaSchool of Public Health, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth 6845, AustraliaCollege of Nursing & Health Sciences, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, AustraliaCollege of Medicine & Public Health, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, AustraliaFood insecurity is associated with reduced physical, social, and psychological functioning in children. There has been sparse research into child food insecurity that incorporates children’s own perspectives, as adults are often interviewed as child proxies. While a nuanced, child-centred understanding of food insecurity is needed to inform effective policy and program responses, little is known about Australian children’s firsthand understanding or experience of household food insecurity. This study aimed to fill this gap by inviting preadolescent children’s perspectives. Eleven participants aged 10–13 years (seven girls and four boys) took part in the study and were recruited from an Australian charity school holiday camp that targets severely disadvantaged youth. Children took part in individual semi-structured interviews that incorporated drawings and emoji scales. Qualitative interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analysed using thematic techniques. Four themes emerged from the data analysis, children had: (i) financial understanding; (ii) awareness of food insecurity and coping mechanisms; (iii) sharing, empathy, and compassion for food insecure families; and (iv) described the nature of ‘food’ preparation. This study provides a child-centric analysis, demonstrating how children’s agency is enacted and constrained in food insecure contexts. This child-derived understanding of food insecurity provides a critical basis from which to build effective approaches to assess and respond to this significant social issue.https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/8/4039child-centredchildrendisadvantagefood insecurityqualitative
collection DOAJ
language English
format Article
sources DOAJ
author Stefania Velardo
Christina M. Pollard
Jessica Shipman
Sue Booth
spellingShingle Stefania Velardo
Christina M. Pollard
Jessica Shipman
Sue Booth
How Do Disadvantaged Children Perceive, Understand and Experience Household Food Insecurity?
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
child-centred
children
disadvantage
food insecurity
qualitative
author_facet Stefania Velardo
Christina M. Pollard
Jessica Shipman
Sue Booth
author_sort Stefania Velardo
title How Do Disadvantaged Children Perceive, Understand and Experience Household Food Insecurity?
title_short How Do Disadvantaged Children Perceive, Understand and Experience Household Food Insecurity?
title_full How Do Disadvantaged Children Perceive, Understand and Experience Household Food Insecurity?
title_fullStr How Do Disadvantaged Children Perceive, Understand and Experience Household Food Insecurity?
title_full_unstemmed How Do Disadvantaged Children Perceive, Understand and Experience Household Food Insecurity?
title_sort how do disadvantaged children perceive, understand and experience household food insecurity?
publisher MDPI AG
series International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
issn 1661-7827
1660-4601
publishDate 2021-04-01
description Food insecurity is associated with reduced physical, social, and psychological functioning in children. There has been sparse research into child food insecurity that incorporates children’s own perspectives, as adults are often interviewed as child proxies. While a nuanced, child-centred understanding of food insecurity is needed to inform effective policy and program responses, little is known about Australian children’s firsthand understanding or experience of household food insecurity. This study aimed to fill this gap by inviting preadolescent children’s perspectives. Eleven participants aged 10–13 years (seven girls and four boys) took part in the study and were recruited from an Australian charity school holiday camp that targets severely disadvantaged youth. Children took part in individual semi-structured interviews that incorporated drawings and emoji scales. Qualitative interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analysed using thematic techniques. Four themes emerged from the data analysis, children had: (i) financial understanding; (ii) awareness of food insecurity and coping mechanisms; (iii) sharing, empathy, and compassion for food insecure families; and (iv) described the nature of ‘food’ preparation. This study provides a child-centric analysis, demonstrating how children’s agency is enacted and constrained in food insecure contexts. This child-derived understanding of food insecurity provides a critical basis from which to build effective approaches to assess and respond to this significant social issue.
topic child-centred
children
disadvantage
food insecurity
qualitative
url https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/8/4039
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