Aboriginal peoples are among the most food insecure groups in Canada, yet their perspectives and knowledge are often sidelined in mainstream food security debates. In order to create food security for all, Aboriginal perspectives must be included in food security research and discourse. This project demonstrates a process in which Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal partners engaged in a culturally appropriate and respectful collaboration, assessing the challenges and barriers to traditional foods access in the urban environment of Vancouver, BC, Canada. The findings highlight local, national, and international actions required to increase access to traditional foods as a means of achieving food security for all people. The paper underscores the interconnectedness of local and global food security issues and highlights challenges as well as solutions with potential to improve food security of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples alike.
Cites: Annu Rev Nutr. 2000;20:595-62610940347
Cites: J Am Diet Assoc. 1996 Feb;96(2):155-628557942
Cites: Public Health Nutr. 2009 Sep;12(9):1504-1119144239
Cites: Can J Public Health. 2004 Nov-Dec;95(6):465-915622799
Cites: Int J Circumpolar Health. 2005 Feb;64(1):46-5415776992
Invasive pathogens can cause considerable damage to forest ecosystems. Lack of coevolution is generally thought to enable invasive pathogens to bypass the defence and/or recognition systems in the host. Although mostly true, this argument fails to predict intermittent outcomes in space and time, underlining the need to include the roles of the environment and the phenotype in host-pathogen interactions when predicting disease impacts. We emphasize the need to consider host-tree imbalances from a phenotypic perspective, considering the lack of coevolutionary and evolutionary history with the pathogen and the environment, respectively. We describe how phenotypic plasticity and plastic responses to environmental shifts may become maladaptive when hosts are faced with novel pathogens. The lack of host-pathogen and environmental coevolution are aligned with two global processes currently driving forest damage: globalization and climate change, respectively. We suggest that globalization and climate change act synergistically, increasing the chances of both genotypic and phenotypic imbalances. Short moves on the same continent are more likely to be in balance than if the move is from another part of the world. We use Gremmeniella abietina outbreaks in Sweden to exemplify how host-pathogen phenotypic interactions can help to predict the impacts of specific invasive and emergent diseases.This article is part of the themed issue 'Tackling emerging fungal threats to animal health, food security and ecosystem resilience'.
Few authors have investigated the institutional character of charitable food programs and their capacity to address food security in Canada.
We surveyed food program managers at charitable agencies in Greater Victoria, British Columbia. We discuss the structure of the "system" of charitable food provision, the value of sourced food, types of services provided, clients' demographic profile, and the estimated healthfulness of meals served. We also describe the proportion of major food types purchased and donated to agencies.
Thirty-six agencies served approximately 20,000 meals a week to about 17,000 people. Food valued at $3.2 million was purchased or donated; approximately 50% was donated, mainly by corporations. The largest value of food purchased and donated was from meat and alternatives (40.9%) and nonperishable food items (16%). Dairy products made up the smallest share of donated foods.
Charitable food programs in Victoria depend on food donations. The proportion of dairy products and produce is low, which raises questions about the healthfulness of foods currently fed to homeless and poor people in the city.
We determined the after-tax income required to finance basic needs for Canadian elders living with different circumstances in terms of age, gender, city of residence, household size, homeowner or renter status, means of transportation, and health status. Using 2001 as our base year, we priced the typical expenses for food, shelter, medical, transportation, miscellaneous basic living items and home-based long-term care for elders living in five Canadian cities. This is the first Canadian study of basic living expenses tailored to elders instead of adults in general, prepared on an absolute rather than a relative basis. We also accounted for an individual's unique life circumstances and established the varying effect that they have on the cost of basic expenses, particularly for home care. We found that the maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement and Old Age Security benefit did not meet the cost of basic needs for an elder living in poor circumstances.
Food insecurity affected over 2.3 million Canadians in 2004. To date, the food security literature has not considered the potential impact of economic abuse on food security, but there are three ways in which these two important public health issues may be related: 1) victims of economic abuse are at risk of food insecurity when they are denied access to adequate financial resources; 2) the conditions that give rise to food insecurity may also precipitate intimate partner violence in all its forms; 3) women who leave economically abusive intimate heterosexual relationships are more likely to live in poverty and thus are at risk of food insecurity. This paper presents a case of one woman who, during a qualitative research interview, spontaneously reported economic abuse and heterosexual interpersonal violence. The economic abuse suffered by this participant appears to have affected her food security and that of her children, while her husband's was apparently unaffected. There is an urgent need to better understand the nature of intra-household food distribution in food-insecure households and the impact of economic abuse on its victims' food security. Such an understanding may lead to improved food security measurement tools and social policies to reduce food insecurity.
Food security is emerging as an increasingly important public health issue. The purpose of this paper is to describe a conceptual model and five classes of food security indicators for regional health authorities (RHAs): direct, indirect, consequence, process, and supra-regional. The model was developed after a review of the food security literature and interviews with British Columbia community nutritionists and public health officials. We offer this conceptual model as a practical tool to help RHAs develop a comprehensive framework and use specific indicators, in conjunction with public health nutritionists and other community stakeholders. We recommend using all five classes of indicator together to ensure a complete assessment of the full breadth of food security. This model will be useful for Canadian health authorities wishing to take a holistic community-based approach to public health nutrition to develop more effective policies and programs to maximize food security. The model and indicators offer a rational process that could be useful for collaborative multi-stakeholder initiatives to improve food security.
The purposes of this study were to measure household food security and to determine its association with potential predictor variables related to household and community environments, as well as the relationship between household food insecurity and preschool children's nutritional status.
In this cross-sectional study, household food security was measured in a convenience sample of households (n=142) with children aged 2-5 years in Vancouver in March 2004. We assessed the association between environmental predictors and household food security status, adjusted for household income. Indicators of children's nutrition were compared between categories of household food security.
Household food insecurity was associated with indicators of suboptimal health status in preschoolers. After controlling for household income, parents with less access to food of reasonable quality, fewer kitchen appliances and a lower rating of their cooking skills had greater odds of experiencing household food insecurity.
Our study results support the need to test interventions involving collaborative efforts among government, social planners and public health practitioners to remove barriers to food security for families. Multiple measures, including opportunities to gain practical food skills and household resources that enable convenient preparation of nutrient-dense foods, could be examined. Our findings suggest the need for improved selection and quality at existing small stores and an increase in the number of food outlets in low-income neighbourhoods.
To measure and describe the prevalence and severity of household food insecurity in a remote on-reserve First Nations community using the Household Food Security Survey Module (HFSSM) and to evaluate the perceived relevance of the HFSSM for this population.
Household food security status was determined from the eighteen-item HFSSM following the classifications developed by Health Canada for the Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 2·2 Nutrition. One adult from each household in the community was invited to complete the HFSSM and to comment on its relevance as a tool to measure food security for First Nations communities.
Sub-Arctic Ontario, Canada.
Households (n 64).
Seventy per cent of households were food insecure, 17% severely and 53% moderately. The prevalence of food insecurity in households with children was 76%. Among respondents from homes rated as having severe food insecurity, all (100 %) reported worrying that food would run out, times when food didn't last and there wasn't money to buy more, and times when they couldn't afford to eat balanced meals. The majority of respondents felt the HFSSM did not capture an accurate picture of food security for their situation. Aspects missing from the HFSSM included the high cost of market food and the incorporation of traditional food practices.
A high prevalence of household food insecurity was reported in this community. On-reserve remote First Nations communities may be more susceptible to food insecurity than off-reserve Aboriginal populations. Initiatives that promote food security for this vulnerable population are needed.
Food insecurity is an ongoing problem in the Canadian Arctic. Although most studies have focused on smaller communities, little is known about food insecurity in larger centres.
This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of food insecurity during 2 different seasons in Iqaluit, the territorial capital of Nunavut, as well as identify associated risk factors.
A modified United States Department of Agriculture Food Security Survey was applied to 532 randomly selected households in September 2012 and 523 in May 2013. Chi-square tests and multivariable logistic regression were used to examine potential associations between food security and 9 risk factors identified in the literature.
In September 2012, 28.7% of surveyed households in Iqaluit were food insecure, a rate 3 times higher than the national average, but lower than smaller Inuit communities in Nunavut. Prevalence of food insecurity in September 2012 was not significantly different in May 2013 (27.2%). When aggregating results from Inuit households from both seasons (May and September), food insecurity was associated with poor quality housing and reliance on income support (p
Food insecurity is a serious public health issue for Aboriginal people (First Nations [FN], Métis, and Inuit) living in Canada. Food security challenges faced by FN people are unique, especially for those living in remote and isolated communities. Conceptualizations of food insecurity by FN people are poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of food insecurity by FN adults living in a remote, on-reserve community in northern Ontario known to have a high prevalence of moderate to severe food insecurity.
A trained community research assistant conducted semi-directed interviews, and one adult from each household in the community was invited to participate. Questions addressed traditional food, coping strategies, and suggestions to improve community food security and were informed by the literature and a community advisory committee. Thematic data analyses were carried out and followed an inductive, data-driven approach.
Fifty-one individuals participated, representing 67% of eligible households. The thematic analysis revealed that food sharing, especially with family, was regarded as one of the most significant ways to adapt to food shortages. The majority of participants reported consuming traditional food (wild meats) and suggested that hunting, preserving and storing traditional food has remained very important. However, numerous barriers to traditional food acquisition were mentioned. Other coping strategies included dietary change, rationing and changing food purchasing patterns. In order to improve access to healthy foods, improving income and food affordability, building community capacity and engagement, and community-level initiatives were suggested.
Findings point to the continued importance of traditional food acquisition and food sharing, as well as community solutions for food systems change. These data highlight that traditional and store-bought food are both part of the strategies and solutions participants suggested for coping with food insecurity. Public health policies to improve food security for FN populations are urgently needed.
In Canada, unique food security challenges are being faced by Aboriginal people living in remote-northern communities due to the impacts of climate change on subsistence harvesting. This study used traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) to investigate whether there was a temporal relationship between extreme climatic events in the summer of 2005, and fish die-offs in the Albany River, northern Ontario, Canada. Also, TEK was utilized to examine a potential shift in subsistence fish species distribution due to climate change.
To investigate whether there was a temporal relationship between the fish die-offs of July 2005 (as identified by TEK) and an extreme climatic event, temperature and daily precipitation data for Moosonee weather station were utilized. To determine if there was an increasing trend in mean maximal summer temperatures with year, temperature data were examined, using regression analysis. Present-day fish distributions were determined using unpublished TEK data collated from previous studies and purposive, semi-directive interviews with elders and experienced bushman.
Fish die-offs in 2005 occurred during the time period 11-18 July, as reported by participants. Recorded air-temperature maxima of the two July 2005 heat waves delineate exactly the time period of fish die-offs. Two heat waves occurring during the same summer season and so close together has never before been recorded for this region. A highly significant (p
British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada and Division of AIDS, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
The Longitudinal Investigations into Supportive and Ancillary health services (LISA) study is a cohort of people living with HIV/AIDS who have ever accessed anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in British Columbia, Canada. The LISA study was developed to better understand the outcomes of people living with HIV with respect to supportive services use, socio-demographic factors and quality of life. Between July 2007 and January 2010, 1000 participants completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire that included questions concerning medical history, substance use, social and medical support services, food and housing security and other social determinants of health characteristics. Of the 1000 participants, 917 were successfully linked to longitudinal clinical data through the provincial Drug Treatment Program. Within the LISA cohort, 27% of the participants are female, the median age is 39 years and 32% identify as Aboriginal. Knowledge translation activities for LISA include the creation of plain language summaries, internet resources and arts-based engagement activities such as Photovoice.
INTRODUCTION: Food insecurity is a chronic problem affecting Inuit communities. The most comprehensive assessment of Inuit food security to-date, the Inuit Health Survey, reported that 70% of Inuit pre-school children lived in ?food insecure? households. Food banks and soup kitchens are relatively new in the Arctic but the number of users is increasing. Little is known about the experience and determinants of food insecurity among food program users who are often among the most marginalized (socially and economically) in communities. The use of participatory research methods when working in the north of Canada can promote meaningful knowledge exchange with community members and this approach was used in the present ?Photovoice? research. Photovoice uses photography to develop a baseline understanding of an issue, in this case the experience and determinants of food insecurity among users of community food programs in Iqaluit, Nunavut. The target population includes those who face significant social and economic marginalization, an often neglected group in Arctic food systems research.
METHODS: Eight regular users of food programs were recruited and engaged in a Photovoice research project to document factors determining their daily food consumption. The research method was introduced in workshops and discussion included the ethical concerns related to photography and how to take pictures. Participants were supplied with digital cameras, and asked to answer the following question using photography: 'What aspects of your everyday life affect what you eat and how much you have to eat?'. In the final workshop, photographs were discussed among the group and participants identified key themes in the photographs, offering an understanding of food insecurity from their perspectives. The group then discussed what should be done with the knowledge gained.
RESULTS: Factors improving food security were the customary systems for sharing ?country food?, and the presence of social support networks in the community, such as the Food Bank, the Soup Kitchen and the Tukisigiarvik Center. Factors identified as negatively affecting food security were the high cost of food in the Arctic, and substance abuse. The participants decided by consensus whether and how the knowledge from this project would be disseminated. They decided that a museum exhibit of the photographs in the summer of 2010 and promotion of the results among policy-makers in Nunavut were of high priority.
CONCLUSION: The use of participatory research approaches such as Photovoice offers promise for exploring food security issues among similarly disadvantaged and vulnerable populations elsewhere in the Arctic. This approach was found to be a useful method for gathering and sharing research data because the data was generated and analyzed by the participants. The clear and concise messages developed by the participants can be used to inform policy. This research method can assist in making a valuable contribution to health research, both in the Arctic and worldwide, because it promotes an understanding of the experiences of individuals from their own perspective.
Food insecurity and the nutrition transition have been noted in arctic communities. We therefore evaluated biomarkers of nutritional status and nutrient intakes by TF and food security status among Inuit in Canada. A cross-sectional health survey of Inuit (=18 y) in 36 arctic communities was conducted in 2007-2008. Food security was assessed by 24-h dietary recalls using USDA questionnaires and nutrient intakes. Biomarkers included serum 25(OH)D, hemoglobin, serum ferritin, and erythrocyte RBC FA. Analyses were stratified by past-day TF consumption (yes vs. no) and food security status (secure vs. insecure). Food insecurity was prevalent (62.6%) and associated with higher RBC trans-FA and lower hemoglobin levels and serum ferritin, whereas TF consumption was associated with higher serum 25(OH)D, (n-3) FA, and serum ferritin (P = 0.05). In men, food insecurity was associated with lower intake of energy and energy-adjusted fiber, vitamin C, iron, zinc, and magnesium. In women, food insecurity was associated with a higher intake of carbohydrates and lower intake of fiber, DFE, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D. For both sexes, when TF was consumed, there was a higher intake of protein, protein-related micronutrients, and vitamins A and C and a lower intake of carbohydrates, saturated fat, and fiber and a lower sodium:potassium ratio (P = 0.05). Nutrition transition and food insecurity are associated with a multifaceted shift in nutrient status and intakes with implications for increased risk of diet-sensitive chronic diseases.
Objectives. Develop a process for assessing climate change impacts on public health that identifies climate-health vulnerabilities and mechanisms and encourages adaptation. Study design. Multi-stakeholder, participatory, qualitative research. Methods. A Climate Change Health Assessment (CCHA) was developed that involved 4 steps: (1) scoping to describe local conditions and engage stakeholders; (2) surveying to collect descriptive and quantitative data; (3) analysis to evaluate the data; and (4) planning to communicate findings and explore appropriate actions with community members. The health effects related to extreme weather, thinning ice, erosion, flooding, thawing permafrost and changing conditions of water and food resources were considered. Results. The CCHA process was developed and performed in north-west Arctic villages. Refinement of the process took place in Point Hope, a coastal Inupiat village that practices whaling and a variety of other traditional subsistence harvest practices. Local observers identified climate change impacts that resulted in damaged health infrastructure, compromised food and water security and increased risk of injury. Priority health issues included thawing traditional ice cellars, diminished quality of the community water source and increased safety issues related to sea ice change. The CCHA increased awareness about health vulnerability and encouraged informed planning and decision-making. Conclusion. A community-scale assessment process guided by observation-based data can identify climate health impacts, raise awareness and encourage adaptive actions, thereby improving the response capacity of communities vulnerable to climate change.
The contamination of traditional foods with chemical pollutants is a challenge to the food security of Aboriginal Peoples. Mercury levels are generally low in terrestrial animals; however renal mercury levels have been shown to change over time in the Porcupine Caribou Herd, the principal food source for the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation of Old Crow in Yukon, Canada. Seventy-five Porcupine Caribou muscle, sixty-three kidney and three liver samples were analyzed for total mercury. Average concentrations were 0.003, 0.360 and 0.120mg/kg wet weight total mercury for muscle, kidney and liver, respectively. Consumption data of caribou muscle, kidney and liver were collected from twenty-six adults in Vuntut Gwitchin households. Women of child-bearing age (n=5) consumed a median of 71.5g/person/day of caribou muscle and 0.0g/person/day kidney but consumed no liver; median consumptions for all other adults (women aged 40+ and all men, n=21) were 75.8, 3.2 and 2.5g/person/day for meat, kidney and liver, respectively. Median dietary exposures to total mercury from caribou tissues were estimated to be 0.138µg/kg body weight for women of child-bearing age and 0.223µg/kg body weight for other adults. Caribou tissues were found to contribute high levels of important nutrients to the diet and pose minimal health risk from mercury exposure.
Nunavut is the most northerly jurisdiction in Canada of which 85% of inhabitants are Inuit. Although most infants are born healthy, Nunavut leads the country for adverse early child health outcomes such as infant mortality, rates of birth defects, prematurity and low birth weight. Public health and community efforts are needed to understand and improve outcomes.
To inform these issues, a combined University of British Columbia/Nunavut Public Health Strategy effort has initiated a comprehensive maternal-child health surveillance system (from 16 weeks gestation to age 5). A diverse group of professional and lay stakeholders were brought together initially to determine local interest. Following this, a series of small working groups were held to decide on potential prenatal, perinatal and early child health variables, to be documented.
Over 100 Nunavut participants have now had some role in the development of the system which has been initiated. Pre-existing standard prenatal forms and well-child assessment forms have been modified to include "Nunavut specific" variables of nutrition, food and domestic security, exposures in pregnancy, birth defects, development, chronic diseases of childhood and paternal information.
This comprehensive maternal-child health information system has been developed with the extensive input of health care providers and stakeholders, utilizing community and public health systems already in place. Careful assessment of local needs has contributed to database development, privacy protection, potential data utilization for health promotion and plans for dissemination of findings. It is hoped that this will be a user-friendly surveillance system, adaptable to other community and public health systems that will improve the understanding of Aboriginal maternal-child health determinants.
This study was conducted to explore whether preparing more complex meals was associated with higher food security status.
This mixed-methods, community-based study involved the use of semistructured interviews to examine the cooking practices of a group of young, low-income women in Montreal. Fifty participants aged 18 to 35 were recruited at 10 locations in five low-income neighbourhoods. Food security status was the main outcome measure and the main exposure variable, "complex food preparation," combined the preparation of three specific food types (soups, sauces, and baked goods) using basic ingredients.
Low-income women preparing a variety of meals using basic ingredients at least three times a week were more than twice as likely to be food secure as were women preparing more complex meals less frequently.
Women who prepared more complex meals more frequently had higher food security. Whether this means that preparing more complex foods results in greater food security remains unclear, as this was an exploratory study.
This paper documents an exceptional research partnership developed between the Vuntut Gwitchin Government (VGG) in Old Crow, Yukon, with a group of scientists to examine northern food security and health as part of a larger, multidisciplinary International Polar Year (IPY) research program. We focus on the elements that enabled a successful community-researcher relationship. Study design. The VGG led the development of the research and acted as Principal Investigator on the IPY grant. The multidisciplinary collaboration spanned the physical, biological and health sciences, including issues related to food security.
The food security and health component of this research was carried out using a series of complementary methods, including focus groups, structured interviews, a household questionnaire, an interactive workshop, community meetings, transcript analysis and a caribou flesh exposure assessment.
Results from the food security component are informing local and regional adaptation planning. The legacy of the research collaboration includes a number of results-based outputs for a range of stakeholders, a community-based environmental monitoring program, long-term research relationships and improved community capacity.
The type of collaboration described here provides a useful model for new types of participatory health research with northern communities.