Nutrition North Canada (NNC) is a retail subsidy program implemented in 2012 and designed to reduce the cost of nutritious food for residents living in Canada's remote, northern communities. The present study evaluates the extent to which NNC provides access to perishable, nutritious food for residents of remote northern communities.
Program documents, including fiscal and food cost reports for the period 2011-2015, retailer compliance reports, audits of the program, and the program's performance measurement strategy are examined for evidence that the subsidy is meeting its objectives in a manner both comprehensive and equitable across regions and communities.
NNC lacks price caps or other means of ensuring food is affordable and equitably priced in communities. Gaps in food cost reporting constrain the program's accountability. From 2011-15, no adjustments were made to community eligibility, subsidy rates, or the list of eligible foods in response to information provided by community members, critics, the Auditor General of Canada, and the program's own Advisory Board. Measures to increase program accountability, such as increasing subsidy information on point-of-sale receipts, make NNC more visible but do nothing to address underlying accountability issues Conclusions: The current structure and regulatory framework of NNC are insufficient to ensure the program meets its goal. Both the volume and cost of nutritious food delivered to communities is highly variable and dependent on factors such as retailers' pricing practices, over which the program has no control. It may be necessary to consider alternative forms of policy in order to produce sustainable improvements to food security in remote, northern communities.
Cites: Int J Circumpolar Health. 2016 Jul 05;75:31127 PMID 27388896
Community food programs (CFPs), including soup kitchens and food banks, are a recent development in larger settlements in the Canadian Arctic. Our understanding of utilization of these programs is limited as food systems research has not studied the marginalised and transient populations using CFPs, constraining service planning for some of the most vulnerable community members. This paper reports on a baseline study conducted with users of CFPs in Iqaluit, Nunavut, to identify and characterize utilization and document their food security experience.
Open ended interviews and a fixed-choice survey on a census (n?=?94) were conducted with of users of the food bank, soup kitchen, and friendship centre over a 1?month period, along with key informant interviews.
Users of CFPs are more likely to be Inuit, be unemployed, and have not completed high school compared to the general Iqaluit population, while also reporting high dependence on social assistance, low household income, and an absence of hunters in the household. The majority report using CFPs for over a year and on a regular basis.
The inability of users to obtain sufficient food must be understood in the context of socio-economic transformations that have affected Inuit society over the last half century as former semi-nomadic hunting groups were resettled into permanent settlements. The resulting livelihood changes profoundly affected how food is produced, processed, distributed, and consumed, and the socio-cultural relationships surrounding such activities. Consequences have included the rising importance of material resources for food access, the weakening of social safety mechanisms through which more vulnerable community members would have traditionally been supported, and acculturative stress. Addressing these broader challenges is essential for food policy, yet CFPs also have an essential role in providing for those who would otherwise have limited food access.
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Community food programs (CFPs) provide an important safety-net for highly food insecure community members in the larger settlements of the Canadian Arctic. This study identifies who is using CFPs and why, drawing upon a case study from Inuvik, Northwest Territories. This work is compared with a similar study from Iqaluit, Nunavut, allowing the development of an Arctic-wide understanding of CFP use - a neglected topic in the northern food security literature.
Photovoice workshops (n=7), a modified USDA food security survey and open ended interviews with CFP users (n=54) in Inuvik.
Users of CFPs in Inuvik are more likely to be housing insecure, female, middle aged (35-64), unemployed, Aboriginal, and lack a high school education. Participants are primarily chronic users, and depend on CFPs for regular food access.
This work indicates the presence of chronically food insecure groups who have not benefited from the economic development and job opportunities offered in larger regional centers of the Canadian Arctic, and for whom traditional kinship-based food sharing networks have been unable to fully meet their dietary needs. While CFPs do not address the underlying causes of food insecurity, they provide an important service for communities undergoing rapid change, and need greater focus in food policy herein.
To determine if household coping strategies for child hunger in Canada have changed over a decade (1996-2007).
We applied t-tests to data derived from Cycle 2 (1996-1997; n=8165) and Cycle 7 (2006-2007; n=15,961) of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) to determine changes in household coping strategies for child hunger. Data were restricted to households with children aged 2-9 years, allowing for cross-sectional analysis of two independent samples. Logistic regression was employed to estimate the odds of reporting child hunger for socio-demographic characteristics and the odds of using different coping strategies.
The national prevalence of child hunger fell from 1.5% in 1997 to 0.7% in 2007 (p
Estimate media technology use in Alaska Native communities to inform the feasibility of technology-based nutrition education.
A self-administered questionnaire was mailed to a random selection of about 50% of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) authorized representatives in remote Alaska Native communities (n = 975). Media technology use, interest in media technology-based nutrition education, and potential barriers were assessed. Chi-square tests were used to investigate associations among technology use, age, and education.
Technology use was common among respondents (n = 368); use was significantly more common among younger age groups and participants with a higher level of education. Smartphone (78.8%) and Facebook (95.8%) use was comparable to national averages, but having a computer at home (38.4%) was much less likely. Less than 50% of participants have Internet access at home.
Findings shed light on new opportunities for WIC and other programs to deliver nutrition education to Alaska Native people in remote communities.
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The Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board had a productive year, with important expert committee reports on the Supplemental Food Assistance Program, physical fitness, and accelerating obesity prevention efforts that provided grounding for dietary guidance and nutrition policies and programs. This summary describes Food and Nutrition Board activities, including current thinking on dietary reference intakes. The summary also highlights consensus reports on defining and measuring Supplemental Food Assistance Program benefit adequacy and on physical fitness and health outcomes in youth. In addition, current and new activities related to obesity prevention and care are addressed. What do these activities have in common? All adhere to the Institute of Medicine report model by filling gaps and by being analytical, evidence-based, and challenging.
To explore the implementation of a breastfeeding (BF) peer counselor (BFPC) program with Alaska Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
The study used focus groups, surveys, and interviews, with transcripts analyzed in Atlas.ti and survey data summarized in Microsoft Excel.
Respondents included 33 interviewed WIC staff and BFPCs, 25 clients in focus groups, and 129 surveyed clients. Common themes included BFPCs' innovative use of texting and online support groups assisting WIC clients' BF success. The BFPCs' knowledge, accessibility, and relatability were identified as positive program elements. Challenges included BFPCs' limited hours, funding, and in-person contact with clients, and confusion about the BFPCs' role. The BFPCs and staff also described unique documentation strategies, BF training, and perceived supports and barriers to WIC clients' BF.
The implementation of a BFPC program in Alaska WIC revealed novel documentation and outreach strategies, including texting and online support groups. Findings may be translatable to other peer counseling programs.
Sufficient vitamin D status during infancy is important for child health and development. Several initiatives for improving vitamin D status among immigrant children have been implemented in Norway. The present study aimed to evaluate the vitamin D status and its determinants in children of immigrant background in Oslo.
Child health clinics in Oslo.
Healthy children with immigrant background (n 102) aged 9-16 months were recruited at the routine one-year check-up from two child health clinics with high proportions of immigrant clients. Blood samples were collected using the dried blood spot technique and analysed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (s-25(OH)D) concentration using LC-MS/MS.
Mean s-25(OH)D was 52·3 (sd 16·7) nmol/l, with only three children below 25 nmol/l and none below 12·5 nmol/l. There was no significant gender, ethnic or seasonal variation in s-25(OH)D. However, compared with breast-fed children, s-25(OH)D concentration was significantly higher among children who were about 1 year of age and not breast-fed. About 38 % of the children were anaemic, but there was no significant correlation between s-25(OH)D and Hb (Pearson correlation, r=0·1, P=0·33).
Few children in the study had vitamin D deficiency, but about 47 % of the children in the study population were under the recommended s-25(OH)D sufficiency level of =50 nmol/l.