Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 356–360 | Cite as

Nutritional Vulnerability Seen Within Asylum Seekers in Australia

  • Sharleen O’ReillyEmail author
  • Tess O’Shea
  • Sibusiso Bhusumane
Brief Communication


To examine the extent of nutritional vulnerability seen in a cohort of asylum seekers in Australia. Twenty-one asylum seekers (15 males, 6 females) that used a food bank were interviewed over a 6 week period at the Melbourne based Asylum Seeker Resource Centre about foods consumed in the previous 24-h and any non food bank foods obtained. A basket audit was conducted after participants accessed the food bank on the day of interview, Participants obtained significantly less than the minimum requirements for the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating in the vegetables and legumes (P < .001, 95% CI −3.5, −1.7) fruits (P < .001, 95% CI −1.7, −.1.2), dairy (P < .001, 95% CI −1.8, −1.5) and meat and meat alternatives core food groups (P = .001, 95% CI −0.8, −0.3) using foods accessed from the food bank, their primary or sole food source. A high level of nutritional vulnerability was seen in this cohort due to their inability to meet minimum nutritional requirements from their primary food access point. Health professionals working with asylum seeker populations need to be aware of this issue and the resulting potential for longer term ill health as a consequence.


Minority health Asylum seekers Healthy eating Food security 



The authors would like to acknowledge Patrick Lawrence, Johanna Burns and Carolyn Poljski at the ARSC in the facilitation of the project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharleen O’Reilly
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tess O’Shea
    • 1
  • Sibusiso Bhusumane
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition SciencesDeakin UniversityBurwood, MelbourneAustralia

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