A number of studies have pointed to the pressure that housing costs can exert on the resources available for food. The objectives of the present study were to characterise the relationship between the proportion of income absorbed by housing and the adequacy of household food expenditures across the Canadian population and within income quintiles; and to elucidate the impact of receipt of a housing subsidy on adequacy of food expenditures among low-income tenant households.
The 2001 Survey of Household Spending, conducted by Statistics Canada, was a national cross-sectional survey that collected detailed information on expenditures on goods and services. The adequacy of food spending was assessed in relation to the cost of a basic nutritious diet.
The person with primary responsibility for financial maintenance from 15 535 households from all provinces and territories.
As the proportion of income allocated to housing increased, food spending adequacy declined significantly among households in the three lowest income quintiles. After accounting for household income and composition, receipt of a housing subsidy was associated with an improvement in adequacy of food spending among low-income tenant households, but still mean food spending fell below the cost of a basic nutritious diet even among subsidised households.
This study indicates that housing costs compromise the food access of some low-income households and speaks to the need to re-examine policies related to housing affordability and income adequacy.
Access to varied, healthy and inexpensive foods is an important public health concern that has been widely documented. Consequently, there is an increasing interest in identifying food deserts, that is, socially deprived areas within cities that have poor access to food retailers. In this paper we propose a methodology based on three measures of accessibility to supermarkets calculated using geographic information systems (GIS), and on exploratory multivariate statistical analysis (hierarchical cluster analysis), which we use to identify food deserts in Montréal.
First, the use of three measures of accessibility to supermarkets is very helpful in identifying food deserts according to several dimensions: proximity (distance to the nearest supermarket), diversity (number of supermarkets within a distance of less than 1000 metres) and variety in terms of food and prices (average distance to the three closest different chain-name supermarkets). Next, the cluster analysis applied to the three measures of accessibility to supermarkets and to a social deprivation index demonstrates that there are very few problematic food deserts in Montréal. In fact, census tracts classified as socially deprived and with low accessibility to supermarkets are, on average, 816 metres away from the nearest supermarket and within 1.34 kilometres of three different chain-name supermarkets.
We conclude that food deserts do not represent a major problem in Montréal. Since geographic accessibility to healthy food is not a major issue in Montréal, prevention efforts should be directed toward the understanding of other mechanisms leading to an unhealthy diet, rather than attempting to promote an even spatial distribution of supermarkets.
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This study was undertaken to understand food insecurity from the perspective of households who experienced it. The results of group interviews and personal interviews with 98 low-income households from urban and rural areas in and around Québec City, Canada, elicited the meaning of "enough food" for the households and the range of manifestations of food insecurity. Two classes of manifestations characterized the experience of food insecurity: (1) its core characteristics: a lack of food encompassing the shortage of food, the unsuitability of both food and diet and a preoccupation with continuity in access to enough food; and a lack of control of households over their food situation; and (2) a related set of potential reactions: socio-familial perturbations, hunger and physical impairment, and psychological suffering. The results substantiate the existence of food insecurity among Québecers and confirm that the nature of this experience is consistent with many of the core components identified in upstate New York. This study underlines the monotony of the diet, describes the feeling of alienation, differentiates between a lack of food and the reactions that it engenders, and emphasizes the dynamic nature of the experience.
OBJECTIVE: Comparison of household and individual food consumption. DESIGN, SETTING AND SUBJECTS: Combined household and individual food consumption survey carried out in Sweden in 1989. A random sample of 3000 subjects aged 0-74 years, the household to which the subject belonged constituted the household unit. Each household recorded all the foods it purchased over a 4-week period, except food eaten outside the home. For the selected subject, excluding children
In this article, we analyze fertility control in a rural population characterized by natural fertility, using survival analysis on a longitudinal data set at the individual level combined with food prices. Landless and semilandless families responded strongly to short-term economic stress stemming from changes in prices. The fertility response, both to moderate and large changes in food prices, was the strongest within six months after prices changed in the fall, which means that the response was deliberate. People foresaw bad times and planned their fertility accordingly. The result highlights the importance of deliberate control of the timing of childbirth before the fertility transition, not in order to achieve a certain family size but, as in this case, to reduce the negative impacts of short-term economic stress.
This study addresses links between economic and nutritional variation in an urban North American setting. We employed a mixed-methods approach including mapping, semi-structured interviews, and food outlet surveys to investigate the public health impact of variation in the cost and availability of food between two socioeconomically distinct neighbourhoods of the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Food cost in supermarkets was not found to be higher in the low-income neighbourhood, though it was much higher in the variety stores that predominate in the low-income neighbourhood. Moreover, there was a very low availability of produce in the variety stores. Reduced fresh produce availability and lower incomes have the potential to negatively influence public health in the less-affluent study area by increasing the difficulty of acquiring healthy foods.
The present study explores the spatial distribution and in-store availability of fresh fruits and vegetables from a socio-environmental perspective in terms of the type of food store, level of deprivation and the setting (urban/rural) where the food outlets are located.
Seven types of fresh fruit and vegetable stores (FVS) were identified then visited in six districts (urban setting) and seven communities (rural setting). The quantity and diversity of fresh fruits and vegetables (F&V) were also assessed.
Québec City, Canada.
The FVS spatial distribution showed differences between the two settings, with accessibility to supermarkets being more limited in rural settings. The quantity and diversity of fresh F&V in-store availability were associated with the type of FVS, but not with setting or its level of deprivation. Greengrocers and supermarkets offered a greater quantity and diversity of fresh F&V than the other FVS.
The results suggest that inequalities in physical access to fresh F&V across the region could have an impact on public health planning considering that supermarkets, which are one of the excellent sources of F&V, are less prevalent in rural settings.
Economic inequality has been hypothesized to be a determinant of population health, independent of poverty and household income. We examined the association between economic inequality and child malnutrition in Ecuador. Economic inequality was measured by the Gini coefficient of household per capita consumption, estimated from the 1990 Census. Childhood stunting, assessed from height-for-age z scores, was obtained from the 1998 Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS). We controlled for a range of individual and household covariates, including per capita food consumption, education, housing, ethnicity, fertility, access to health services, diarrhea morbidity, child care, mother's age and diet composition. Stunting still affects 26% of children under five in Ecuador, with higher prevalence in the rural Highlands and among indigenous peoples. Maternal education, basic housing conditions, access to health services, ethnicity, fertility, maternal age and diet composition were independently associated with stunting. However, after controlling for relevant covariates, economic inequality at the provincial scale had a statistically significant deleterious effect on stunting. At municipal or local levels, inequality was not associated with stunting.
Insight into the relative importance of sheep and goat herding and of the economic significance of each species (i.e., milk vs. meat vs. wool) in Medieval Greenland is obtained through the application of Halstead et al.'s (2002) criteria for the identification of adult ovicaprine mandibles to faunal assemblages from three Norse farmsteads: Sandnes, V52a, and Ø71S. The economic strategies identified are broadly comparable between the two species and the Eastern and Western Settlement sites examined, and are suggestive of the subsistence production of meat and milk. Comparison with farmsteads elsewhere in Greenland indicates that socio-economic status and/or farmstead size interacted with geographical location in determining the economic strategies employed by the Norse farmers. A broader use of resources and a more varied diet are evident at larger farmsteads in Greenland and this paper suggests that such sites would have been better able than their smaller counterparts to withstand environmental deterioration during the early Middle Ages. These analyses have also confirmed that goats were relatively more common in Norse sites in Greenland than in Norse sites in Iceland, Orkney, or Shetland.
Russia's indigenous peoples have been struggling with economic, environmental, and socio-cultural dislocation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. In northern rural areas, the end of the Soviet Union most often meant the end of agro-industrial state farm operations that employed and fed surrounding rural populations. Most communities adapted to this loss by reinstating some form of pre-Soviet household-level food production based on hunting, fishing, and/or herding. However, mass media, globalization, and modernity challenge the intergenerational knowledge exchange that grounds subsistence practices. Parts of the circumpolar north have been relatively successful in valuing and integrating elder knowledge within their communities. This has not been the case in Russia. This article presents results of an elder knowledge project in northeast Siberia, Russia that shows how rural communities can both document and use elder knowledge to bolster local definitions of sustainability and, at the same time, initiate new modes of communication between village youth and elders.