POSITION STATEMENT It is the position of Dietitians of Canada that household food insecurity is a serious public health issue with profound effects on physical and mental health and social well-being. All households in Canada must have sufficient income for secure access to nutritious food after paying for other basic necessities. Given the alarming prevalence, severity and impact of household food insecurity in Canada, Dietitians of Canada calls for a pan-Canadian, government-led strategy to specifically reduce food insecurity at the household level, including policies that address the unique challenges of household food insecurity among Indigenous Peoples. Regular monitoring of the prevalence and severity of household food insecurity across all of Canada is required. Research must continue to address gaps in knowledge about household vulnerability to food insecurity and to evaluate the impact of policies developed to eliminate household food insecurity in Canada. Dietitians of Canada recommends: Development and implementation of a pan-Canadian government-led strategy that includes coordinated policies and programs, to ensure all households have consistent and sufficient income to be able to pay for basic needs, including food. Implementation of a federally-supported strategy to comprehensively address the additional and unique challenges related to household food insecurity among Indigenous Peoples, including assurance of food sovereignty, with access to lands and resources, for acquiring traditional/country foods, as well as improved access to more affordable and healthy store-bought/market foods in First Nation reserves and northern and remote communities. Commitment to mandatory, annual monitoring and reporting of the prevalence of marginal, moderate and severe household food insecurity in each province and territory across Canada, including among vulnerable populations, as well as regular evaluation of the impact of poverty reduction and protocols for screening within the health care system. Support for continued research to address gaps in knowledge about populations experiencing greater prevalence and severity of household food insecurity and to inform the implementation and evaluation of strategies and policies that will eliminate household food insecurity in Canada.
This study uses a population health intervention modeling approach to project the impact of recent legislated increases in age eligibility for Canadian federally-funded pension benefits on low income seniors' health, using food insecurity as a health indicator.
Food insecurity prevalence and income source were assessed for unattached low income (
Canada's Aboriginal population is vulnerable to food insecurity and increasingly lives off-reserve. The Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 2.2 Nutrition, was used to compare the prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of food insecurity between non-Aboriginal and off-reserve Aboriginal households.
Food insecurity status was based on Health Canada's revised interpretation of responses to the US Household Food Security Survey Module. Logistic regression was used to assess if Aboriginal households were at higher risk for food insecurity than non-Aboriginal households, adjusting for household sociodemographic factors.
Households (n 35,107), 1528 Aboriginal and 33 579 non-Aboriginal.
Thirty-three per cent of Aboriginal households were food insecure as compared with 9 % of non-Aboriginal households (univariate OR 5.2, 95 % CI 4.2, 6.3). Whereas 14 % of Aboriginal households had severe food insecurity, 3 % of non-Aboriginal households did. The prevalence of sociodemographic risk factors for household food insecurity was higher for Aboriginal households. Aboriginal households were more likely to have three or more children (14 % v. 5 %), be lone-parent households (2 1 % v. 5 %), not have home ownership (52 % v. 31 %), have educational attainment of secondary school or less (43 % v. 26 %), have income from sources other than wages or salaries (38 % v. 29 %), and be in the lowest income adequacy category (33 % v. 12 %). Adjusted for these sociodemographic factors, Aboriginal households retained a higher risk for food insecurity than non-Aboriginal households (OR 2.6, 95 % CI 2.1, 3.2).
Off-reserve Aboriginal households in Canada merit special attention for income security and poverty alleviation initiatives.