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Southampton research shows regions in the North have higher risk of food insecurity

Southampton research shows regions in the North have higher risk of food insecurity

A research team based at the University of Southampton and funded by the National Institute for Health Research ARC Wessex*, has created an index showing which neighbourhoods in England are at the highest risk of food insecurity.

The map and data can be used by local authorities as a way to target support and help those families most at risk. Dr Dianna Smith from the University led development of the data set, funded by ARC Wessex for research to reduce health inequalities in children and families (as part of Wessex FRIEND with Dr Nisreen Alwan):

“Food security for households is influenced by multiple factors, from individual circumstances to local access to affordable resources. We worked with local governments and charities to create a measure of food insecurity risk in neighbourhoods that captures these barriers and have made it available to support people working to place interventions or other support where they are most needed.”

The Food Insecurity Risk Indices for the first time can identify risk to a smaller scale than was possible before, helping to target local council neighbourhoods. These Indices were informed by published research and interviews with local government teams and food aid providers to find out what characteristics are associated with food insecurity. In all almost 33,000 areas were mapped in England and areas at most risk are identified. They include:

  • Middlesbrough
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • The Wirral
  • Birmingham
  • Wigan
  • Kingston Upon Hull
  • Oldham

From the data collected urban areas can carry a higher risk of food insecurity and for local city councils the detailed mapping can help to target neighbourhoods for support.

Sara Crawford is a Improvement Manager at Southampton City Council:

“The food poverty risk measures have been really helpful in giving us and our partners the information we need to better inform, design and target food aid support in the city”

In England a third of at-risk areas were in the North west and 96% of those were urban areas. Data were compared with childhood obesity rates, income deprivation and free school meal which are associated with food insecurity, and there was agreement between these data. More complex indices included mental health, educational attainment, access to transport, local shopping and even broadband availability to estimate food insecurity risk.

 

Index

rank

Simple

Complex

Urban

Rural

 

 

 

Compositional

Structural

Compositional

Structural

1

Middlesbrough

003F

 

Tendring 018A

 

Wirral 016E

 

East Lindsey 006B

 

Tendring 018A

 

Carlisle 001D

2

Blackburn with

Darwen 006E

 

Wirral 016E

 

Wirral 011C

 

Forest Heath 003G

 

Wakefield 039D

Northumberland

019C

3

Wirral 016E

 

Wakefield 039D

 

Blackpool 006A

 

East Lindsey 006A

County Durham

025B

Northumberland

003B

4

Wirral 011C

East Lindsey

017D

 

Wirral 027C

East Cambridgeshire

004A

 

Allerdale 005B

 

Eden 002D

5

Birmingham 050B

 

Wirral 009A

 

Stockport 004B

 

Herefordshire 009B

County Durham

045F

 

Teignbridge 003C

6

Birmingham 121B

Scarborough

012B

 

Middlesbrough 007E

 

East Lindsey 012C

County Durham

059F

Northumberland

007D

7

Wigan 009C

Stockport 004D

Stockport 004D

East Lindsey 006C

Wigan 031A

Eden 001C

8

Kingston upon Hull

017E

 

Stockport 004B

 

Wirral 008C

Central Bedfordshire

007A

County Durham

051E

 

Herefordshire 020C

9

Wirral 008C

 

Knowsley 006B

 

Blackpool 010A

 

Tower Hamlets 025E

County Durham

051A

 

Allerdale 002D

10

Oldham 014B/Middlesbrou

gh 011B

Cheshire West and Chester

040B

 

 

St. Helens 014D

 

East Hampshire 004A

 

County Durham 051D

 

 

Eden 006C

 

For a full run down of the data and maps you can get access to the tool at https://www.mylocalmap.org.uk/iaahealth/

For details contact:

Jamie Stevenson at NIHR ARC Wessex at Jamie.stevenson@soton.ac.uk

 

Notes to editors:

 

Dr Dianna Smith is a Lecturer in Geographical Information Systems and Health Geography at the University of Southampton. She has been working with ARC Wessex to identify areas and household profiles at risk of food insecurity and child poverty. (Details here)

 

The mission of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. We do this by:

 

  • Funding high quality, timely research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care;

 

  • Investing in world-class expertise, facilities and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services;

 

  • Partnering with patients, service users, carers and communities, improving the relevance, quality and impact of our research;

 

  • Attracting, training and supporting the best researchers to tackle complex health and social care challenges;

 

Collaborating with other public funders, charities and industry to help shape a cohesive and globally competitive research system;

 

Funding applied global health research and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle income countries.

 

NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. Its work in low and middle income countries is principally funded through UK Aid from the UK government.

 

*National Institute of Health Research Applied Research Collaboration for Wessex (NIHR ARC Wessex) conducts applied health research with partners and others in the health and care sector, alongside patients and members of the public.

 

Applied health research aims to address the immediate issues facing the health and social care system. We also help bring research evidence into practice and provide training for the local workforce.

 

 

Data Appendix with sources follows

Simple Domains

Simple Indicators

Complex

Domains

Complex Indicators

Source

Benefits (50%)

Claimants of benefits, age 16-

64 (%)

HouseholdComposition (50%)

Claimants of benefits, age 16+(%)

DWP 2020/21

Claimants of benefits, age 65+

(%)

Household Composition (50%)

Persons on low income and either living alone, or living in a household with dependent

children, age 0-64 (%)

Persons on low income andeither living alone, or living in a household with dependent children, all ages (%)

Census 2011

Living alone, age 65+ (%)

 

Complex Index Only

 

Persons with no educational

qualifications, age 16+ (%)

Census 2011

Mental ill health, composite

IMD 2019 Mood &

Anxiety indicator

 

Structural   Risk (50%)

Minutes to nearest employment centre (size 100+ jobs) by public transport (bus, train, walking),

age 16-74

Department for Transport 2017

Median download speed Mbit/s by connections in an area

Ofcom Fixed

performance data 2020

Bus stops per km2 using LSOAarea size from the ONS

National public

transport access node (NaPTAN) 2020

Distance   (Euclidean   km)    to medium and large grocerystores

(1,400m2+)

Geolytix Retail Points 2021