“I worry if I will have food tomorrow”: A study on food insecurity among asylumseekers living in Norway

Author(s)

Publication date

2019

Series/Report no

BMC Public Health;19(592)

Publisher

BMC

Document type

Abstract

Background: High prevalence of food insecurity has been observed among asylum seekers resettled in highincome countries. Economic constraints, lack of knowledge about new foods, difficulties with shopping, challenges with language, as well as problems complying with various religious food rules are associated with the occurrence and severity of food insecurity. However, no data on food security among asylum seekers in Norway currently exist. Thus, the aim of the study was to assess food security among asylum seekers living in Norwegian reception centers. Methods: Using convenience sampling, we selected eight reception centers in the southeastern part of Norway and included 205 asylum seekers, including 41 families with children < 18 years of age. We measured food security using the 10-item version of the Radimer/Cornell Hunger and Food Insecurity Scale. Food insecure participants were divided into three groups: food insecurity without hunger, food insecurity with hunger, or food insecurity with child hunger. Using logistic regression models, we analyzed the association between food insecurity status and socioeconomic variables. Results: Seven percent of the participants were categorized as food secure and 93% as food insecure, of whom 11% were food insecure without hunger, 78% were food insecure with hunger, and 4% were food insecure with child hunger. Among the families with children, 20% (8 of 41) experienced child hunger. For the participants experiencing food insecurity with hunger, 44% reported that they were hungry often, and among families with children, 14% reported that despite being aware of the child’s hunger, they did not have the resources/money to buy more food. In logistic regression models, men had higher odds of experiencing adult food insecurity with hunger than women, OR (95% CI): 4.08 (2.04, 8.16). A reduction in monthly budget by 100 euros increased the odds of experiencing adult food in-security with hunger by 1.37 times OR (95% CI), 1.37 (1.16, 1.61). Conclusions: The prevalence of food insecurity among asylum seekers in Norway was high, in contrast to low prevalence of food insecurity in the Norwegian population. Asylum seekers are a particularly vulnerable group and initiatives to ameliorate the opportunities for an adequate diet are of the outmost importance.

Keywords

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publishedVersion

Permanent URL (for citation purposes)

  • http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/91803
  • https://hdl.handle.net/10642/7135