August 30, 2013
Food insecurity – when people do not have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life at all time – is a problem for 7.7% of Canadian households. A new report by the Conference Board of Canada recommends that school-based meal programs need to be available in all Canadian schools to counteract this problem. A Globe and Mail article agrees that children should be well-nourished to ensure optimal performance, and explains that more effort is needed to better organize the already existing patchwork of food programs.
School programs can provide tremendous relief for some families, and ease the pangs of hunger that affect a child’s ability to learn in school. But they are not enough. Children’s hunger is a symptom of food insecurity and wider social and economic inequality. We can’t just treat the symptom but need to address the cause of the problem through comprehensive policy changes to reduce income inequality and promote healthier living conditions for all children and their parents.