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Prevalence, determinants, and effects of food insecurity among middle eastern and north african migrants and refugees in high-income countries: a systematic review

journal contribution
posted on 2020-12-21, 22:19 authored by R Mansour, Pranee LiamputtongPranee Liamputtong, A Arora
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Issues related to poverty and income inequality in high-income countries have led to food insecurity among some population groups, such as migrants and refugees. While there are some studies on the experience of some migrant groups (and other subpopulations), little is known about food security among Middle Eastern and African migrants and refugees. This systematic review identified the prevalence of food insecurity and its effects among Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) migrants and refugees in high-income countries. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed in this systematic review. Four databases, namely MEDLINE (Ovid), Embase (Ovid), CINAHL (EBSCO), and PubMed were searched. Three studies met the inclusion criteria, all of which were conducted in USA: two among Sudanese migrant families, and one among Somali refugee women. The rates of reported food insecurity ranged from 40% to 71% and were significantly higher than for the general population. Food insecurity was associated with acculturation and socio-economic factors. Food insecurity adversely impacts the health of MENA migrants and refugees, creating economic implications for individuals, families, the broader community in which they now live, and for governments.


This study is being completed as part of a Doctor of Philosophy and is financially supported by the Research Training Scheme. Western Sydney University also provided services of on-site librarians, access to commercial databases to obtain relevant literature, and the software to manage or analyse data. We thank Lily Collison, School of Medicine librarian, and Katrina Chaudhary, School of Health Sciences librarian at Western Sydney University, for their consultation on the search strategy adopted. Also, the authors wish to acknowledge Paul Fahey for his comments on methodological quality, and Elaine Newby, who assisted in the editing of this article.


Publication Date



International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health





Article Number



19p. (p. 1-19)





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