Food insecurity, defined as “the inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints”, is a serious public health problem in Canada. It negatively impacts physical, mental, and social health, and is a great burden to our healthcare system.
Statistics Canada began monitoring food insecurity in 2005 through the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). The most recent national measure was taken in 2012. The results concluded over 4 million Canadians are affected by food insecurity.
Food-insecure individuals are likely to have poorer health, this is true for both children and adults.
- Food-insecure adults are more vulnerable to chronic conditions, with the risk increasing with the severity of food insecurity.
- Exposure to severe food insecurity leaves an indelible mark on children’s wellbeing, manifesting in greater risks for conditions like asthma, depression and suicidal ideation in adolescence and early adulthood
- Food insecurity also makes it difficult for individuals to manage existing chorionic health problems, such as diabetes and HIV
- Due to scarce resources, food insecure individuals may forego critical expenses like medication.