Trends in food poverty and linkages to health in Northern Ireland

Status: Active


Food poverty is a major public and policy issue. Moreover, food poverty has a significant impact on health and wellbeing. A range of data sources are available that can yield important insights into areas at greatest risk across regional scales.

Aims and key questions

This project aims to produce a food poverty risk index for Northern Ireland. This will be used to investigate links between food poverty and nutritional deficiencies, and to answer the following questions:

  1. What types of areas experience the greatest risk of food poverty?
  2. Have at-risk areas changed or persisted over time?
  3. What groups of people experience greater exposure to food poverty?
  4. How does food poverty impact on physical health?
  5. What interventions could be most effective at reducing the risk of food poverty?

The data

A food poverty risk index (FPRI) will be created that covers approximately 400 people and 155 households in Northern Ireland. The FPRI will be developed from various datasets and sources of information including:

  • Northern Ireland Regional Maternity system (NIMATS) data

  • NI Business Services Organisation Honest Broker Service – Enhanced Prescribing Database (EPD)

  • Area-based deprivation data - The NI Multiple Deprivation Measure 2017 (NIMDM)

These variables will be combined into a weighted model with percentage weightings agreed by a range of key stakeholders from across Northern Ireland. It will also be linkable to health data to enable investigation into the relationship between food poverty and physical health.  

The potential

This study has the potential to provide insights into the variations and impact of food poverty risk for households in Northern Ireland. It will provide an evidence-based rationale for policy and applied interventions.

Project details

Project lead: Dr Paul McKenzie

Duration: Due for completion by 2024

Contact: ADRC NI office

Funding: This project is funded by ADR Northern Ireland via its core grant from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) as an ADR UK partner.  

Categories: ADR Northern Ireland, Health & wellbeing, Housing & communities, Inequality & social inclusion

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