Food security in developed countries like New Zealand can be
defined as reliable access to nutritionally adequate, safe, and
personally acceptable foods. People who rely on cheap
"filler" foods lacking in nutrients and high in fat and salt are at
increased risk of overweight and obesity, cardiovascular disease,
diabetes and some cancers. Poor nutrition in children is
particularly damaging for their development.
Food insecurity affects households on low incomes and sometimes
also those with high accommodation costs or where there has been
sudden illness or loss of employment. The 1997 National
Nutrition Survey found that 14% of people lived in households where
food sometimes or often ran out because of lack of money. This
figure is still considered to be a reasonable estimate of food
insecurity rates. In the last few years, the food price index
has increased at a greater rate than median household income,
meaning food is becoming less affordable.
full issue summary on food security [PDF].