May 22, 2014
Food insecurity is when you experience uncertain and insufficient access to food. Food insecurity and income are closely linked.
In Guelph and Wellington County, one in five households with incomes below $40,000 is food insecure. Food banks across our region have all experienced significant increases in the number of clients over the last few years. According to data from the Canadian Community Health Survey, 7.4 per cent of households in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph experience some form of food insecurity.
There are many negative health outcomes associated with being food insecure. For example, it can lead to an increased risk for nutrient inadequacies, adverse pregnancy outcomes, chronic diseases, depression and distress, poor academic performance, or impaired development of social skills.
In 2013, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health estimated it would cost a family of four $195 per week to eat healthy. Since 2009, there has been a 16.7 per cent increase in the cost of food.
Although the increasing food costs appear to be a concerning factor, if we compare income case scenario, we quickly see that inadequate income is a major root issue. After paying for housing and other basic living expenses, many individuals and families with a limited income do not have enough money left over to purchase nutritious food on a consistent basis.